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John Butler Howlett

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

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March 20, 1926-March 12, 2011

OTIS, Colorado -- John Butler Howlett was born in Otis, Colorado, on March 20, 1926.

A devoted father of four and a loving, supportive husband, John Butler Howlett passed away March 12, 2011, in Yuma, Colorado.

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John married Reavis Lavina Smith Nov. 22, 1944, in Golden, Colorado. Together they raised four children, Karen Giauque of Ocala, Florida, Bryan Howlett of Ocala, David Howlett of Denver, Colorado, and Ruth Howlett of Otis. His wife, children and grandchildren, Tania and Steve Giauque, were the center of his life.

John grew up with his parents, Rex and Irene Butler Howlett on a ranch south of Otis. He attended grade school at Welch School south of Otis. He went to high school as a freshman in Otis and lived with Carl and Mickie Hutchinson while his parents lived and worked on the ranch.

In 1941, Rex and Irene purchased the former Phil Shea home on the east end of Otis that still belongs to the family. He graduated from Otis High School in 1944, and joined the U. S. Navy after graduation, later serving in the Pacific Theater during World War II. John and Reavis were married while he was on leave from the Navy.

After the war, the newlyweds made their home southwest of Otis where John farmed and ranched with his father while Reavis made a home for the family.

In 1955, John and his family of five, which included John, Reavis, Karen, Bryan, and David, moved to Brush, Colorado, where he and Reavis started a furniture store and home remodeling business, Johnnie's Home Furnishings. John ran the business with Reavis' help while she also provided a loving and caring home for their family. The baby of the family, Ruth, was born in Brush.

John then entered the insurance business, and he and Reavis relocated their family to Gering, Nebraska, in 1963, and later McCook, Nebraska, in 1966. Through this time, John and Reavis continued to love and nurture their family as they grew to adulthood. John continued in the insurance business for 13 years then went to work for the Electric Hose and Rubber Manufacturing Plant in McCook where he eventually became director of purchasing for the plant.

In 1977, the family made it full circle, returning to Otis to be closer to Reavis' mother, Laura Smith, and John's parents, Rex and Irene Howlett.

John took a job as manager of the Valley Feed and Seed plant in Otis and later owned and operated Howlett custom hay business, J. & R. Enterprises.

He served on the Brush School Board, Otis Town Council, and served as Mayor of Otis, President of the Y-W Rural Electric Association and later Washington County Commissioner. Reavis provided support for him and the family.

Always known to Reavy as Johnnie and to his children as Dad, the family's affectionate names for John included Dad, the Dad and Daddeo. He was also referred to as Grandpa John or GJ by his grandkids, but no matter the pet names, he was always Dad.

He was preceded in death by his loving wife, Reavis; mother, Irene; and father Rex.

John is survived by daughters, Karen and Ruth; sons, Bryan and David; son-in-law, Bill Giauque; daughter-in-law, Jan Davidson; and grandchildren, Steve and Tania Giauque.

Funeral services were March 17, 2011, at First Presbyterian Church in Otis. Interment followed at Otis Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to the First Presbyterian Church of Otis or to the Howlett Family Scholarship Fund at Otis High School.

Brenner Funeral Home of Akron, Colorado is in charge of the arrangements