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Claude Edward (Sr.) Howard

December 2, 1948 ~ May 5, 2022 (age 73)
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Claude Edward Howard Sr., age 73, entered into rest on May 5, 2022 in Grand Rapids, Michigan
after a short illness. To the many friends who knew him, he was affectionately called “Pee
Wee”. To the rest of us, he was Friend, Uncle, Grandpa, Brother, Father, Husband, and Son.
Claude “PeeWee” Howard Sr. was born on December 2, 1948 in Hazlehurst, Mississippi. Along
with his mother Dorothy Smith and elder brother Douglas “Duckie” Smith, he moved to Grand
Rapids, Michigan. His mother married his stepfather Philander Smith and the family welcomed
his siblings Sharon “Chick” Smith and Wendell “Winn” Smith.
Pee Wee was a graduate of Central High School in Grand Rapids and went on to attend Grand
Rapids Community College. He soon met Joyce Pressley of Howard City, Michigan and they
were joined in marriage on March 6, 1971 in a quaint ceremony in her parents’ home.
Pee Wee was employed in the shipping and receiving departments at JCPenney, White Medical
Supply, and WZZMTV13 in Grand Rapids. He went on to work for Steelcase Inc. for 21 years.
In 1975, Pee Wee and Joyce welcomed their son Claude Edward Jr. and, for anyone who would
listen, he would share the pride and joy he had for his son. He affectionately called his son
“Moose” and the two Claudes were connected at the hip. They shared many interests and
spent their years talking Michigan sports, fishing together, attending football games at the Big
House, and never missing an episode of WWE. He was especially proud of his Moose for his
academic and athletic successes, career in law enforcement, and their similar joys in
The most special memories of Pee Wee are those that include his loving care for his wife
through the years and particularly in the last several years where he could be found sitting by
her bedside. They shared quite the banter. Pee Wee was a wonderful caretaker for Joyce.
Pee Wee spent many afternoons coaching football with the Pop Warner 78ers program. His
son and teammates will surely remember his favorite play call – the 88 Fly – where he would
proudly cheer his son speeding down the middle of the field. Pee Wee was also a Super Buster
referee in local Gus Macker tournaments. Since retirement from his coaching and refereeing
career, he has taken great pleasure in following his eldest granddaughter’s sports career. He
always commented about how much she reminded him of a young Claude, Jr.
Recently, Pee Wee experienced a special joy in building a relationship with his daughter Megan
and her family. Claude, Sr. valued family above all, and was delighted at this meeting.
Pee Wee enjoyed music, collected vinyl records, and always had a story about where he was
when he first heard his favorite songs. He enjoyed playing cards with his family and friends.
Many evenings were spent playing spades, boys versus girls, with his siblings, in - laws, and his
son. Pee Wee was a talented cake baker. He was known to bake two or three cakes – one to
eat now, and a couple to send with friends, back to college with his nieces, or back on the road
with his grandchildren. He fried memorable chicken and took total pleasure in spoiling his
family with food, stories, and time.
Claude Edward Howard, Sr. is survived by his mother Dorothy Smith, his wife Joyce Howard, son
Claude Howard, Jr. (Tiel) and daughter Megan Wethy (William) and grandchildren Nia Isabel,
Yosef Amanuel, and Simone Amerie Howard and Kingston Ralph, Nedwin Ralph, and Kennedy
Wethy; brother Douglas and nephew Greg, sister Sharon, nieces Chanel Nichols and Candace
Smith (Wendell Smith and Rhonda Thames); niece Hannah Davis (Larry and Vivian Davis);
brother- in- law Thomas Pressley (Gladys) and nieces and nephews Thomas Pressley “Jay”
(Gina), Angie Pressley Wilson (Willie), Akara Pressley, Adriya DeAndra-Perry, Amaria Pressley,
Charles Brewer, and Pebbles Brewer; sister-in- law Phyllis Jarnegan Rourke (Leo) and nephew
Joseph “JT” Jarnegan (Shannon); sister- in- law Dorothy Wolfolk and niece and nephews Leslie
Nichole Wolfolk, Quentin Wolfolk (Chandra), and Brandon Wolfolk (Jessica); and sister-in-law
Karen James and niece Jessica Revere (Mario).
Claude Howard Sr. was preceded in death by his step father Philander Smith, father and
mother- in- law Thomas and Jean Pressley, his brother Wendell Smith, family friend Larry Davis,
brother- in- law Victor Jarnegan, nephew Darnell Wolfolk, and niece Shandar Turner.
A Memorial Service will be held at Brown’s Grand Rapids on June 11, 2022 at 10:00am. In lieu
of flowers, memorial contributions may be directed to the family at 601 Fawn Avenue,
Springville, Iowa, 52336.

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Memorial Service
June 11, 2022

10:00 AM
Brown's Funeral Chapel
627 Jefferson Ave. SE
Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503

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