Life Story / Obituary
With a life that spanned times of great change in the world around him, Howard Weatherly lived a life of purpose while holding his loved ones near. He was highly intelligent and analytical with an insatiable desire to learn new and intriguing things. Howard was blessed to spend the majority of his days with the love of his life, and together they experienced so many of the best things that life has to offer. He worked hard, but he made the time to enjoy life along the way. A longtime resident of the community he loved, Howard was the sort of person everyone seemed to know. Deeply loved, he will be forever missed.
During the first half of the 1940s, the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as WWII raged on. While countless young servicemen and women were deeply entrenched in the perils of war overseas, those who remained stateside became all too familiar with rationing on common goods like coffee, sugar, rubber, cooking oil, and canned goods among so many other things. It was just prior to the war’s end in 1945 that Howard Alfred was welcomed into the world on January 27, 1945, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The only child of John and Sarah (Shuords) Weatherly, he was raised by his single mother who worked full-time as a typist for US Steel in Pittsburgh. Howard and his mother lived with his maternal grandparents in Pittsburgh during the majority of his formative years. They took the bus everywhere they needed to go. As a teen, Howard was on the school swim team, and he especially liked the high dive. He was also on the wrestling team and worked at a gas station part-time. Howard was a fan of the Philadelphia Phillies and the Pittsburgh Steelers.
As a young man of 18, Howard enlisted in the United States Navy in 1963. He served for six years and also earned his GED and trained as an electrician during this time. Howard served on a ship in the Caribbean during the Cuban Missile Crisis and later served in the Mediterranean Sea aboard the USS Grand Canyon. He always spoke fondly of the memories he made during the service seeing Italy, Turkey, and Greece. Howard was deeply patriotic and very proud of his military service.
Throughout his life Howard was known for his intellect and his strong work ethic. Over the years he worked for many places including Molded Fiberglass Co. in Ashtabula, Ohio, and the City of Pittsburgh. It was while working for the City of Pittsburgh that Howard came to Grand Rapids on a work assignment and never left, calling Grand Rapids home for the rest of his life. From there he worked for Ecco Consulting Co. in Grand Rapids, Wolverine World Wide, Inc. in Rockford, for the City of Grand Rapids, Systems & Computer Technologies in Kalamazoo, and then retired from the Computer Task Group of Northrop Grumman in Battle Creek.
New and exciting changes were in store for Howard when he met the woman of his dreams. Her name was Sally, and they met at a restaurant with friends in 1971. Sparks flew right from the start, and they set a date for the following night. They went to Russo’s and then dancing, and the rest is history as they say. Howard and Sally dated for two years and were married on May 26, 1973, at Holy Trinity Episcopal Church followed by a reception on the westside. They made their home at Sally's house, located at 917 Burton SW for two years. For three years they lived on 43rd Street in Wyoming. They eventually settled into their current house on the Northeast side. Howard flew each service flag on Memorial Day each year and the US flag continuously. They attended St. Paul's Episcopal Church, and Howard treasured the companionship of their pets, Pixie, Heidi, Sasha, and Chelsea.
Although Howard made a career in computers, and received many awards in computer languages,his skills extended much further. Howard was able to complete any home improvement or repair project on his own, and he collected both tools and old computers. He also got into woodworking. Howard loved working on his '88 Pontiac Fiero and his black 300 Chrysler LeBaron. Howard had an impressive collection of guns and was a member of the NRA. He enjoyed saltwater fish, even building an aquarium into his family room wall. Howard also dabbled in plant growing (indoor hydroponics). As someone who loved learning, he took several college classes over the years at the Institute of Computer Management, Kent State University, Grand Rapids Junior College, Grand Valley State University, and Aquinas College. Howard and Sally did some traveling over the years as he took her to New Port, Rhode Island, to see where his ship was stationed. There were also trips to Pennsylvania to visit family and to see the Liberty Bell and attend the “Mummers Parade,” trips to New Jersey to see the Tall Ships, and trips to attend ship reunions where he always managed to see a former shipmate or two. When eating out, Howard loved prime rib and eating at Bud and Stanley’s.
Quick-witted, an amazing listener, independent, and dedicated to the people and things he was passionate about, Howard Weatherly was an extraordinary man to know and love. He was well liked by everyone he met and was the sort of person who would do whatever he could for someone else. Howard was deeply devoted to his country and proud to have served during a time of need, a true testament to his character. He will never be forgotten.
WEATHERLY, Howard A., Grand Rapids, MI, Age 72, passed away at home, January 12, 2018 with his loving family at his side. Howard was born January 27, 1945 in Philadelphia, PA to the late John and Sarah (Shuords) Weatherly. He served in the United States Navy on board the USS Grand Canyon. On May 26, 1973, Howard married Sally Fry in Grand Rapids. He retired as a systems analyst with Computer Task Group of Northrop Grumman in Battle Creek. Howard will be remembered for his high intelligence and love for photography. Surviving are his wife of 44 years, Sally Weatherly of Grand Rapids; brother-in-law, Glen R. Hill of Jenison; and nephew and nieces, Scott Hill of Lancaster, SC, Kristi (Bob) Stone of Grand Rapids, Aimee (Terry) Morris of Hudsonville; & cousins, Harold Scott of Pottstown, PA and Barbara Quinn of Harleysvale, PA. A funeral service will be held on Tuesday, January 16 at NOON at Heritage Life Story Funeral Home, 1833 Plainfield Ave NE. Friends may visit with the family beginning at 11 AM. Interment will be in Solon Twp Cemetery in Cedar Springs. Please visit Howard's personal web page to learn more of his life story, leave a memory or condolence at www.lifestorynet.com.