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HOWARD GUSTAFSON

Obituary
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HOWARD GUSTAFSON Mr. Howard Gustafson, 84, of Fort Pierce, Florida and Northbrook, Illinois passed away June 8, 2014 at the St. Lucie Hospice House in Fort Pierce, Florida.
Howard was born in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in Elgin, Illinois. He was the son of Harold Gustafson and Esther Carlson Gustafson and their only child. He attended Elgin High School, class of 1948, and worked his way through a Bachelors and Masters Degree at Northern Illinois University. He served in the US Coast Guard on the USS Campbell and on Ellis Island as it was shutting down in 1954. He was a member of the Elks Club and the American Legion Post 57 in Illinois for 57 years. Howard married Claire Davis, also of Elgin, in 1953. They moved from Elgin to Northbrook, Illinois in 1959 where they still have a home. Howard was a junior high school math and science teacher and later a principal. Claire passed away of breast cancer in 1989. A year later Howard retired. In 1991 Howard met Barbara Gilbert, of Miami, while down in Marathon Florida at the Fish Kamp that he shared with a group of fishing friends. Barbara's husband had also passed away and they ended up becoming companions for the next 23 years. Howard and Barbara bought a home in Fort Pierce, Florida in 1993 and have since, spent every year there, going back up to Northbrook for the summer months. Howard was a wonderful and generous father and grandfather to three sons and four grandchildren. Jeff (Anita Yee) and their son's Bradley and Matthew of Cupertino, California. Rod (Lisa, nee Baker) of Denver, Colorado and Dan (Barbara, nee Bruce) and their daughters Mary Claire and Annie, of Western Springs, Illinois. Howard was a lifelong fisherman and he loved to travel, especially visiting friends, relatives and his boys. He often talked about fond memories when he was a boy, spending summers with his cousin, Bill Henningson, out on the farm in Albert City, Iowa. Later he would take a trip out to Iowa every summer with the family and even after the boys grew up. He often extended the trip out to Denver and even California. Howard and Claire loved to travel to South America and had visited several countries, including Peru, Ecuador, Venezuela and the Galapagos Islands. Later on, during the 1990's, when Jeff was living in Hong Kong, he travelled to Asia several times, both by himself and with Barbara. He visited Hong Kong, China, Thailand, Singapore, Australia and Indonesia, visiting Bali and the family of his niece, Peggy Setiawan's, husband. Howard loved living in Florida during his years in retirement. He would go fishing in the Keys several times a year and especially liked to remind his friends up north of how he was having his coffee and reading the newspaper out on his patio in January. He also spent time volunteering at the Manatee Observation and Education Center in Fort Pierce. Howard was a very outgoing and social guy, spending hours a day on the phone talking to friends as well as getting out to visit his local friends at happy hour. Many of us will sorely miss our daily or weekly calls or visits with Howard. A service to celebrate Howard's life will be held at the Fort Pierce Elks Club on July 12 at 1:00PM and a reception will follow. A second service will be held at his home in Northbrook, Illinois in early August. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Manatee Observation and Education Center, 480 N. Indian River Dr., Fort Pierce Florida 34950, www.manateecenter.com, or the Treasure Coast Hospices, St. Lucie Hospice House, 5090 Dunn Rd., Fort Pierce, Florida 34981, www.tchospice.org

Published in the TC Palm on June 15, 2014
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