Eugene "Gene" Jay Howell, 90, of Loveland, passed away on Saturday, September 14, 2013. Gene was born on August 1, 1923, to Harry and Margaret (Hilzer) Howell in Lafayette, CO. Growing up on a farm with six brothers and sisters, Gene was never one for sitting around doing nothing. He herded turkeys in the late 1930s, finished high school in Mead, CO, and then felt the call to serve his country during WWII. In November 1940, at 17 years old, he fudged his birth date so he could join the U.S. Navy. As Chief Water Tender, he served on four ships during his Naval career: USS Portland, USS Laub, USS Maddox, and USS Raby. Gene was on the USS Portland when it was torpedoed, and followed the ship to Australia while it underwent repairs. He was honorably discharged in August 1946 then reenlisted in the U.S. Naval Reserve in April 1948. He served as Chief Boilerman until he was again honorably discharged, this time in April 1953. After his stint in the Navy, Gene went into business for himself. He loved wrenching on cars and was a heck of a mechanic-there wasn't hardly anything he couldn't do. He owned numerous service stations and garages over the years, including Gene's Petroleum (in Littleton), Howell's Texaco Service Station (in Lakewood), Ted's Place, and Owl Canyon Trading Post. In October 1972, Gene went to work for the Great Western Sugar Co. factory in Loveland. He started out as Utility Man and worked his way up to Top Mechanic (Pipe Fitting), where he was in charge of re-piping the old lines. He retired in March 1985, when the sugar factory shut down. He took part in the salvage of the GWSC factory, before moving on to his next adventure, and the next, and the next, "retiring" many more times. Gene was a hard worker his entire life. He was generous and loved helping people. He liked to shoot pool, play cards, and especially enjoyed playing cribbage with his daughters and letting his granddaughter beat him at checkers. He had a great sense of humor and liked pulling your leg, even in his final days. Gene is survived by his loving daughter, Jaki Reddington; his granddaughter, Shelan Golightly; his great-granddaughter Alena Golightly; his sisters Helen Teeple, Virginia Kelly and Madeline Hamilton; numerous nieces and nephews; and close friends Gary Krogmeier and Terry Wright. Gene was preceded in death by his wife, Maxine (George) Howell; parents, Harry and Margaret Howell; brothers, Harry E. Howell and William Glen Howell; sister, Marjorie McAnally; daughter, Connie Golightly; son-in-law, Jan Golightly; and son, Richard J. Howell. Memorial services will be held on Sunday, September 29th at 11:30 a.m. at Viegut Funeral Home. Cremation has been completed and a private interment is planned for a later date. Go to www.viegutfuneralhome.com for condolences. 'OUR COUNTRY IS IN MOURNING, A VETERAN DIED TODAY'
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Published in Loveland Reporter-Herald on Sept. 28, 2013