Robert Howald

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MACOMB - Robert Lee "Bob" Howald, 80, of Fort Worth, Texas, formerly of Macomb, passed away Thursday, February 14, 2013, at his home.

Memorial services will be at the pavilion of the Japanese Garden in the Fort Worth Botanic Garden on Sunday afternoon, March 17, 2013, from 3 to 5 p.m. Burial will be in Macomb.

Bob's grateful friends will gather to welcome another spring, enjoy beautiful music and share memories of their gentle, gifted, generous friend.

Bob's memory may also be honored with a gift to organizations he admired and supported, including the Chamber Music Society of Fort Worth, The International Festival-Institute at Round Top, Texas, the Old Jail Art Center, Albany, Texas, or to any organization that shares beautiful music and artistic expression with the world.

Bob Howald was born Aug. 12, 1932, in Macomb, Ill., to parents Helen and Ray Howald.

He often recalled working after school and summers in his father's restaurant, taking meals with his hard-working parents and brother, Bill, "in the far back booth." As a result, Bob was, by nature, both a diligent, loyal employee wherever he worked, but also a self-appointed authority and critic of cafes and restaurants, measuring the quality of food and service offered against the high standards of Howald's Cafe, "On your good food route."

Throughout his career, spent largely in behind-the-scenes production management roles in the Fort Worth advertising community, Bob earned a reputation for thoroughness and excellence as much as for his thoughtfulness, selflessness, and generous spirit. He became "a legendary figure in ad biz," the way he often referred to the advertising veterans he worked alongside.

Bob had a modest, gentle charm - a gentlemanly, courteous, old school way of doing any task, any job - that earned the respect, admiration and genuine love of all who were fortunate to know him.

Perhaps his most widely known and endearing, enduring quirk of personality was his almost reflexive habit of ending each phrase and sentence in conversation with two words: "and everything."

He attended Western Illinois University in Macomb before enlisting in the U.S. Air Force in 1952 during the Korean conflict. For much of his USAF service, he was stationed in the Philippines and Hawaii. He was honorably discharged in 1956.

On his return to Illinois, he enrolled at Southern Illinois University, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in journalism in 1961.

Having been impressed with the city he saw through a train window years before, Bob applied for and was accepted for a position at Leonard's Department Store in downtown Fort Worth, where he worked in the bustling advertising department of the venerable store during its heyday.

He rose to assistant manager of the advertising department before leaving Leonard's to join Goodman & Associates, an advertising and public relations firm, as production manager. He later accepted the same position at Witherspoon & Associates in May 1969.

Named a vice president at the agency, Bob remained employed at Witherspoon until June 2002, marking more than 30 years there. But he kept his business cards ready and, over the next five years, happily assisted with special projects at the city's oldest agency.

Despite his passion for travel and his service in the Air Force, Bob was afraid to fly. But his fear allowed him to discover much of the country by car and train. He enjoyed visiting museums and attending music festivals and concerts of every kind throughout the country. He neatly recorded every detail, every meal, every beautiful vista discovered along his way in little, spiral notebooks.

Bob had a remarkable memory and was an ardent, lifelong student, especially of the broad, diverse catalog of classical music and its composers. He kept Dallas radio station WRR tuned in at work and by his bedside.

Each Sunday, he faithfully read The New York Times, front to back, especially poring over obituaries of the famous and obscure printed there. He relished the demands of keeping his yard tidy. He was a devoted gardener. When "Jeopardy" was on, he was disappointed if he had to answer the door or the phone. He was a big fan of "The Simpsons."

In recent years, he volunteered at the Amon Carter Museum and at the Fort Worth Library, assisting the children's librarian at the Hulen Branch. And he was a dependable and longtime volunteer at Harris Methodist Hospital, where he manned the popcorn stand in the lobby and assisted the pastoral care staff.

Survivors include his nephews, Eric R. Howald and William M. Howald of Peoria, Illinois, and their families, along with several cousins and scores of friends who will never forget him.

Published in Peoria Journal Star on Feb. 24, 2013
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