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James Franklin Howard



Memorial Contributions

The Harmel Academy of the Trades

3333 East Beltline

Grand Rapids MI, 49525


Operation Underground Railroad

 PO BOX 560902

Denver, CO 80256

James Franklin Howard, 76, went home to be with the Lord in the early morning hours of January 17, 2023, surrounded by the loves of his life. Jim was an avid reader, thinker, philosopher, teacher, entrepreneur, humorist, patriot, epicurean, agronomist, the biggest Notre Dame fan ever and a teller of tall tales. His most cherished roles were of father, husband, stepfather, grandfather, son, brother, uncle, and friend extraordinaire. James was born and raised in Grand Rapids where he attended St. Francis, GR Catholic Central 64’ and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Michigan. Jim was the second oldest of six children. Family was his entire world and they traveled in a pack. When you see one Howard or Polakovich you are highly likely to see another! Jim was a sports fanatic that regularly attended any game that his children, nieces, nephews, and cousins played and was known to keep the referees on their toes. Jim was a devout Roman Catholic who found his home at Sacred Heart Parish. He was also an active member of Apostle of Mercy, Knights of Columbus Emeritus, and a founding member of the Inquisitors. Jim is survived by his beloved wife, Sally Davidson Henderson; and his two daughters, Meghan Howard Taylor (Brian), and Caitlin Howard (Matt Young) who were his greatest joys in life; and his stepchildren, Sarah-Kate (Nathan) Wisemen, Chris (Allison) Henderson, Bryce (Victoria) Henderson. His grandchildren Maeve Taylor, Graham, Sydney, Rhoads, Brooke, Abby, and James Henderson brought a sparkle to his eyes! Finally, his many amazing nieces, nephews, and cousins who were always a part of his large, loving heart. Also, his best friends who were siblings, John (Liz) Howard, Tom (Becky) Howard, Mark and (Mary Ann) Howard, Bill and (Jean) Howard, Sue and (Dwaine) Shiverdecker. James was preceded in death by his parents, Mack and Francis Howard and brother, John Howard; sister-in-law, Liz Howard, and brother-in-law, Dwaine Shiverdecker. Visitation will be held on Thursday January 26th at O’Brien-Eggebeen-Gerst Chapel, 3980 Cascade Rd SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546. The family will be greeting visitors from 2-4 pm and 6-8 pm with Rosary in Jim’s honor at 7:30. Mass of Christian Burial is Friday January 27th, at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Parish, 156 Valley Ave SW, Grand Rapids, MI 49504 at 11:00 am, with visitation one-hour prior. Rev. Ronnie Floyd presiding. Immediately following will be a procession to Resurrection Cemetery 4100 Clyde Park Ave SW. Wyoming, MI 49509. Wake to Celebrate the Life of James Howard at 3:00 pm Eastern Ave Hall 2nd Floor, 506 Eastern Ave NE Grand Rapids MI 49503. In lieu of flowers please consider a donation to The Harmel Academy of the Trades, 3333 East Beltline, Grand Rapids MI, 49525 or Operation Underground Railroad, PO BOX 560902 Denver, CO 80256.

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One Response

  1. Jimmy was always our “big” cousin who entertained us all. I can see plain as day, on Christmas Eve family parties Jim playing a little poker with my dad, Uncle Jeff and Uncle Bob.???? Great memories of all the cousins and aunts and uncles. The Polokavich side is a fun group. Here’s to heaven and eternal life???????? With Love, Cousin Shelly and Bryan Wilson

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