William (Bill) Fred Van Howe, Jr., died on May 13, 2020 at the age of 69 due to injuries from a car accident in Marietta, OH. Bill is survived by his fiancée, Kathy Wellman; his children Jennifer Avers (Scott) and James Van Howe (Farah Marklevits) and their mother, Karen Van Howe; his brothers, Bruce Holstrom (Saralea), Fred Holstrom (Pat); and sister, Susan Henry; grandchildren, Ainsley Avers, Eloise Van Howe, and Nora Van Howe; nephews and nieces; and dear friends, Ken Purse and family. He is predeceased by his parents.
Bill was born on October 27, 1950 at Little Company of Mary Hospital in Evergreen Park, IL, to William and Elva Van Howe. He grew up in Venice, FL and Oak Lawn, IL, spending most of his life in the Chicago area. He received a B.A. from Elmhurst College in Urban Studies in 1972, a M.S. in Teaching from Northern Illinois University in 1986 and a Motorcycle Technician Certification from the Motorcycle Maintenance Institute in 2002. Bill tried his hand at professions varying from handyman, consultant, welder, weight loss counselor, physical trainer, chamber of commerce director, car salesman, public school teacher and motorcycle mechanic. Though most of Bill’s professional work centered around training, education and career mentoring. He taught general education diploma (GED) and English as a second language (ESL) classes at Rock Valley College in Rockford, IL, basic education skills at the Chrysler Assembly Plant in Belvidere, IL, and vocational skill training at Richard J. Daley College in Chicago, IL.
Bill was adventurous and curious, wanting to try new things and have new experiences. He read books constantly. He was a child at heart who loved to laugh, joke and play. His children fondly recall spending time with him at libraries, museums, joke shops, playgrounds, bowling alleys, miniature golf courses, video arcades, school field trips, family vacations, and especially sharing his love of music.
He and his fiancée retired to a home on nine acres near Marietta, Ohio where they were landscaping and planting a garden in anticipation of their wedding and the visits of family and friends. Bill loved dogs and they loved him. Whether his own pet or a neighbor’s, they eagerly followed him around for his attention. Throughout his life, he was interested in looking out for those who were more vulnerable than he, including his work in adult education, caring for veterans, as a peer counselor and a regular blood donor. Though Bill struggled often with finding his own purpose, his life impacted so many others in meaningful, positive ways. He will be dearly missed.
Due to COVID-19, a memorial for Bill will be held remotely/electronically for family and close friends. In lieu of flowers, Bill’s family is asking that donations be sent to Kathy Wellman, 1117 Smith Hill Road, Marietta, OH 45750, to help with medical expenses.
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