Lois S. Howe

Howe, Lois S. November 13, 2012, of Mequon, WI. Long-time resident of Fox Point, WI. Born in 1921 in Chicago to Swedish immigrant parents, Lois's character was defined by the effects of the Great Depression and World War II. Her personality tenets were sacrifice, hard work, generosity, respect and above all, humor. Lois enjoyed and excelled in academics being recognized by the Chicago Tribune as one of Chicago's 24 Outstanding High School Graduates of 1939. Her passion continued at the University of Chicago where she enjoyed studying mathematics and physics made possible with a Daughters of Sweden scholarship. While at the University of Chicago, Lois was selected to join a classified five member team of mathematicians created to support the scientists of The Manhattan Project. The Manhattan Project was the code name for the US government's secret project that successfully controlled a nuclear reaction at the University of Chicago before World War II and culminated in the development of the nuclear bomb. Team membership demanded project secrecy and total work obedience. They met complex, involved and demanding deadlines, regardless of the personal sacrifice. "Our loyalty to our government was always in question. Although our work was top secret, we knew something of great importance was in development. Our country was at war and we were asked to contribute, which we did". Her satisfaction came in producing groundbreaking math results. Lois also won the position of the Editor of the University of Chicago Yearbook, Cap and Gown , in 1944, which upon completion was never published in deference to the war effort. Lois graduated from the University of Chicago with academic honors and was a member of Nu Pi Sigma, the senior women's honorary. Upon graduation, Lois went to work for IBM, pioneering their Systems Service Department. While there, she met and married Thomas Howe, her beloved husband of 48 years. Lois postponed her professional goals to raise three daughters. The Howes relocated often with IBM requiring Lois to reestablish the household and community connections which she felt strongly about in each new community. At age 42, Lois developed breast cancer. As a result of her cancer diagnosis, Lois and Tom made the conscious decision, to opt out of IBM's executive track to provide family stability and find good medical care. That decision brought the Howes to Milwaukee. Although her prognosis was not positive, and her treatments radical, she overcame her obstacles and went on to become a long term cancer survivor. With her cancer eliminated and her girls in high school, Lois was anxious to resume her life of academia, and returned to her roots at the University of Chicago. She accepted a position with the University's National Opinion Research Center (NORC), designing and implementing social science research for the federal government. Lois enjoyed her position with NORC until her retirement. Of her many achievements, Lois was most proud of her family. Having grown up in difficult and turbulent times, Lois reveled in family life. Simple moments, such as laughter with family or friends brought her greatest joy. In addition to her family, friends and work, Lois enjoyed golf, bridge, and travel. Lois was preceded in death by her husband Thomas, and son-in-law Todd Filter. She is survived by her 3 "Gifts from God," Deborah (Alex) Antonio, Barbara (Jim) Jorgensen, and Margaret Filter, in addition to 6 grandchildren and 3 great-grandchildren. The Howe family would like to thank the staffs of both The Highlands at Newcastle Place & Heartland Hospice, Dr. Dirk Steinert, and Beth and Megan Grossmueller for their compassionate care of Lois. A celebration of Lois's extraordinary life will be held at Tripoli Country Club, Friday, November 16 from 5:30 to 7:30PM with a private family service to follow. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to The Parkinson's Disease Foundation, http://www.pdf.org/

Published in Milwaukee Journal Sentinel from Nov. 14 to Nov. 15, 2012