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Lillian Lolita (Willis) Howe

January 27, 1934 ~ November 2, 2020 (age 86)


Lillian Lolita Howe, daughter of John Cox and Lillian Carkner, was born on January 27, 1934 in Detroit, MI. She departed to be with her Heavenly Father and family on November 2, 2020.


Lillian loved the Lord and faithfully served Him her entire life. Despite a rough upbringing, she always attended her local church. She put herself through nursing school and kept in contact with her nursing friends throughout the years. Lillian met her husband Fred on a blind date in 1954 while she was in nursing school. They were married the following year in Brooklyn MI. And all three of their children were born in Mason, MI.


She spent her entire life helping others. In the early 70’s Lillian visited an institution in Michigan. There she saw how developmentally delayed children were treated, she came home and said “Fred, I want to buy a big house and move some of those kids in with us.”  After fighting the system, she opened the first group home in Michigan. Lillian also worked at their school.  Those children thrived and the home is still being ran by the State of Michigan. It is a successful operation that has impacted countless lives. To many locals the facility is known as the “Howe Home”.


When her husband, Fred, transferred from Michigan State University to the University of Nevada, Reno, she continued her work with the handicapped and at their thrift store (WARC).  After retiring there, she said she asked God what she should be doing. She witnessed people really struggling in her area, saw a need, and knew what she needed to do. This was the beginning of the Good Shepherds Clothes Closet, an organization which collects quality donations and donates them, free of charge, to families in need. Lillian was co-founder to this project. It is a non-profit organization and continues to flourish in Reno, NV today.


After retiring a second time, they longed to be out of the city life and moved to Stilwell, OK. There they were close to their granddaughter, Jennifer Patterson, and her family.  Again, she asked God what He wanted her to do. She then learned of the “Dress a Girl Around the World” project. This became her mission in her later years. She sewed several thousand dresses that went to orphanages around the world. She faithfully attended First Christian Church in Stilwell. In her spare time, she made pumpkin bread and jam. Grandkids probably still have some in their freezers!


Lillian was preceded in death by her parents, John Cox and Lillian Carkner, her loving sisters Lenora Reddig, Mildred Accorsi and Margie Fagan.


She is survived by her loving husband of 65 yrs, Fred Howe, their children; Julie Howe Merrill (Kirby) of Stilwell, OK, Barbara Howe Wyatt (Dan) of Carson City, NV and Douglas Howe (Susie) of Reno NV; 13 grandchildren; Jennifer Patterson (Clay) of Stilwell, OK, Ben Jurs (Julianne) of St Louis, MO, Zachary Jurs of Salem, OR., Casey Noblit, Tyler Noblit, Emilee Howe, Lindsee Howe, Tom Byington (Anne) of Reno, NV, Holly Guy (Russel) of Hutto,TX, Tim Merrill (Hannah) of Lancaster, SC, Trevor Merrill (Nikki) of Lancaster, SC, Tawnya Stickler (Luke) of Portland, OR.,  Brittany Wyatt (Ean) of Carson City, NV and 16 great grandchildren! Also, her 2 brothers; George Cox (Joanne) of Howell, MI and Bill Seog (Wanda) of Whitmore Lake, MI.


In lieu of flowers the family has asked donations to go to Good Shepherds Clothing Closet, 540 Greenbrae St Sparks NV 89431. Memorial service will be held at First Christian Church of Stilwell on November 23rd at 1:00.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Lillian Lolita (Willis) Howe, please visit our floral store.


Memorial Service
November 23, 2020

1:00 PM
First Christian Church
306 N 2nd St
Stilwell, OK 74960


Good Shepherds Clothing Closet
540 Greenbrae St, Sparks NV 89431

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