William “Bill” H. Howe

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The soul and spirit of William “Bill” Henry Howe departed his earthly body, at his home, on Friday, July 22, 2022, with his late life companion and family by his side. Bill was extremely active at the age of 99 until a fall resulting in a concussion and complications hastened his passing. Bill set a personal goal of reaching 100 years of age and he had a fair chance at it, if not for his fall.

The family is holding a private graveside service in the Evergreen Cemetery. Military honors will be accorded by the Prairie du Chien Honor Guard. A Celebration of Life is planned for Thursday, from 4 to 7 p.m. at The Barn Restaurant in Prairie du Chien. 

The Garrity Funeral Home, of Prairie du Chien, assisted the family. 

Bill was born on April 6, 1923, the son of Lyman J. and Eliese B. Howe. He married Bernice Benson, who passed away in 1980 from a blood clot after a surgery to repair a broken ankle.

Many years later, Bill met Donna Kinley and they began a 30-year later-life journey as partners. Each gained a new loving family.

Bill lived his life with gusto. He reveled in family, and especially treasured times when as many or all of them could gather. He would often be heard saying “Aren’t we lucky?”

He spent as much time as possible on the Mississippi River, boating, skating, or just keeping an eye on it during daily road trips. He was able to cruise the river in his pontoon into his early 90s.

Bill served his country in the U.S. Navy during WWII. He was the third-generation editor and publisher of the Courier Press and co-owner of The Guttenberg Press and North Iowa Times. He and his brother, Lyman “Jack,” led the Courier from 1946 to 1997, before passing it down to the fourth generation. He was inducted into the Wisconsin Newspaper Hall of Fame in 2018. Bill was a member of the Prairie du Chien Historical Society for the past 10 years, and an active member of the community. He received the special President’s Award from the Prairie du Chien Area Chamber of Commerce in 1991. He was one of only a few residents to be designated the prestigious Prairie du Chien Citizen Laureate, in 2007. 

He was a member of the Wisconsin Conservation Congress and honored recently for his 68 years of service. He always kept himself well-informed of the various issues, from local to national levels. He was a passionate advocate for our natural resources and enjoyed spending time on the river and in the woods. Bill was appointed to the Minnesota/Wisconsin Boundary Commission by Governor Lee Dreyfus and served for many years, receiving a commendation for his service there as well.

Bill was vocal about what he believed was right for the community and area he so loved. 

He also had a wonderful singing voice and loved to sing, anytime and anywhere. Whenever there was big band music in the area, he could be found on the dance floor with his partner and go until his feet were sore.

He enjoyed traveling to many places in the U.S. and Europe during his past 30 years, his last big trip being to Ireland when he was 95.

Bill is survived by his LLC, Donna Kinley; his children, Gary (Joan) Howe of Prairie du Chien, Keith Howe of Cleveland, Dean Howe of New York City, Rita (Mark) Cooper of Eden Prairie, Minn.; daughter-in-law, Mary Mason; Donna’s children, Jim and John Kinley; 11 grandchildren, Shelly and Justin Howe; Benjamin and Gena Howe, Lauren and Claire Cooper, Elliot, Genevieve and Alex Howe, McKenna and Addi Kinley; and 19 great-grandchildren. 

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife; brother; infant daughter, Elisa Ann, and son, Bruce.

In lieu of flowers, memorials to the Prairie du Chien Historical Society or Crossing Rivers Hospice are preferred.

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