Esther Howell, 71

Esther S. Howell, age 71, of Sturgis, passed away Friday, Jan. 3, 2014, at Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo, from injuries received from a fall at home.

She was born Oct. 25, 1942, in Laporte, Ind., a daughter of the late Leonard and Jeanette (Linde) Watnick.

Esther graduated from Union Township High School in Laporte and then attended Purdue University, graduating with the class of 1963. While at Purdue, she met and fell in love with Larry D. Howell and they were married June 7, 1964, in Michigan City, Ind.

They moved to Napoleon, Ohio, for nine years, where Esther taught school for six years before moving to Sturgis in October 1973. In Sturgis, she worked for 17 years at Holy Angels Catholic School, where she taught classes and became principal. She later taught school for Burr Oak Public Schools for three years and was principal for eight years. She had been retired for the past 10 years.

She was active in the Sturgis Newcomers Club and enjoyed playing bridge weekly.

Surviving are her husband, Larry; two sons, David and Natasha Howell of Fort Worth, Texas, and Michael and Carla Howell of Dallas; three grandchildren, Nathan and Nikita Barnes and Jaden Velero; two great-grandchildren: Stella and Tycho; three sisters, Linda and Tom Nidiffer of North Augusta, S.C., Susan and J.B. Bitar of Lake Mary, Fla., and Lisa and James “J.R.” Price of Kennewick, Wash.; nephews Tommy, Matt, Jeff, Derek and Cliff; and nieces Caprice, Julia, Jasmine, Ronni and Vikki.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Leonard Watnick and Jeanette Gryzbacz; and step-father, Joe Gryzbacz.

The family will receive friends and relatives from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. Tuesday at Hackman Family Funeral Home — Rosenberg Chapel, 807 E. Chicago Road, Sturgis. Memorial donations may be directed to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital or Burr Oak Scholarship Fund. Envelopes are available at the funeral home.

Her obituary is also at, where personal messages of support may be left for the family.

Check Also

Susie McKay, 86

Susie Mae McKay, age 86, of Kalamazoo, died Friday, July 23, 2021 at Medilodge of …