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Life Story / Obituary
Lois Howe was an energetic woman who put her heart and soul into family life and public activities. She worked for perfection at home and strove to make things right in society. Her outgoing personality and her driven spirit connected her with many people over her lifetime, but she always treasured the simple joys of life that came from being a wife, mother and grandmother.
Lois’ story began the year Charles Lindbergh made his historic transatlantic flight in 33.5 hours, spurring-on a can-do spirit in American industry and politics. The assembly line enabled the mass production of Henry Ford’s automobile, and the Suffrage Movement won women the right to vote.
Lois was born December 11, 1927 to Harry and Rhoda (Shearer) Mohler in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, where her father worked as a paper engineer. When she was a teen, the family moved to Chicago, and talented Lois graduated from Proviso High School at age 16. She went on to college for one year, but because of the economic strains of the Depression, Lois came home to join the work force and to help care for her younger sister Bonita.
Lois worked for a brief time with Singer Company, but at age 19 she became the wife of Kenneth Larsen just after he was discharged from the U.S. Navy. The couple moved to Champaign, Illinois and began their family with the birth of their son Chris. Kenneth’s job took them to Berkley, Michigan, where Eric and Karin were born. The family made one more move to Southfield, Michigan and Lois became active in politics, writing for a newspaper and for the church. She took satisfaction in volunteering for worthy causes such as blood donation, and over a lifetime it was safe to say she donated gallons.
When the marriage ended in divorce, Lois came to live in Holland, Michigan and found work as a receptionist. She was working the desk at Holiday Inn in 1978 when a man named Emerson Howe came to check in. He was in the process of moving to Holland because of a job transfer. Playfully, Lois told him there was “no room at the inn,” but Emerson ended up staying at the Inn while he looked for more permanent housing. From that initial meeting, the two formed a friendship that led to marriage on August 26, 1980, and Lois’ family grew to include his children, Bettye and Mark. With Emerson’s transfers, they would move back east for a time before settling in Plainwell, Michigan in 1996.
The small-town rural setting of Plainwell was a great location for an animal lover like Lois. She kept dogs and cats, raised rabbits, set out numerous bird feeders and, for many years, rehabilitated birds for the Kalamazoo Nature Center. Her garden was a beautiful tribute to a lively woman who thrived in the out-of-doors. Indoors, Lois took joy in laying a full spread each mealtime, and she worked as a baker for a while. All this confirmed the common knowledge that Lois was a fantastic cook.
Among her other pleasures in life, Lois lived to travel. She vacationed out east and often went to visit her son in Colorado. The more she saw her grandchildren, the happier she was.
In 2007, Lois was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease and on Sunday, May 24, 2015 she passed away at Ely Manor in Allegan.
Lois Howe, 87 of Plainwell, Michigan is survived by her loving family, which includes her devoted husband of 35 years, Emerson; her children: Chris (Mary) Larsen, Eric (Nanci) Larsen, Karin (Forrest Duddles) Larsen, Bettye (Bob) Fields, Mark (Debbie) Howe; her sister Bonita Alekma; 8 grandchildren; 11 great grandchildren as well as several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents. Visit with Lois’ family and friends and view her life story film on Friday, May 29 at 12:30 at the Life Story Funeral Home, Plainwell; 120 Woodhams St. (269-685-5881). A memorial service will follow at 1:00 p.m. at the same location. Please visit Lois’ memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can read her life story, archive a memory or photo and sign her memory book online. Memorial donations can be made to the Kalamazoo Nature Center; 7000 Westnedge Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49009.