June was born and raised in San Mateo, California. She lived in the same home from her birth until she married Mike Howard on January 29, 1966 at age 18. As she grew up, she was surrounded with family. Her aunts and uncles were like additional sets of parents and her cousins were more like brothers and sisters than cousins. Her family has always been very close and love visiting one another at every opportunity.
June is survived by Mike, her husband. They met almost 50 years ago to the day of her passing when June's brother, Ron (now deceased), brought Mike home to meet his family in February 1964. They began dating about a year later and just celebrated their 48th anniversary in January. June and Mike have two beautiful children, Jennifer Howard and Rich Howard. June was proud of the caring people her children have become. June is also survived by her three sisters, Phyllis Delamare, Cindy Andrade and Gail Mahan, and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
June was a collector, not in the usual sense of those who collect things such as stamps, salt and pepper shakers or the like, but, rather, a collector of friends. June was all about relationships with people. She has life-long friends dating back to her elementary school days. Recently on a trip to southern California, she arranged to meet with friends she made over 40 years ago when living in our first home. She was really excited to see them again. When they met, it was as if no time had passed at all. Laughter and joy of being together again filled their time. June looked forward to special moments such as these and she celebrated them. She didn't just like the friends she made, she really loved and cared for them, and she didn't hesitate to show it. For June, the hardest part of dealing with her illness was not being able to socialize all her friends or partake in their events.
If you want to know June's secret for making friends, she could tell you in two words, the Lord. June accepted people for who they were. She didn't look to find fault or judge people. Instead, she always looked for the good in everyone. Another reason June had so many friends is she always put others first. Here is a simple, but typical example. After June had lost the ability to speak, walk or swallow water, her sister, Phyllis and her husband, Jim, came to visit. Mike was feeding June her daily doses of medications that were crushed and mixed with apple sauce. June could barely eat or drink thickened liquids due to difficulty swallowing caused by her brain tumor. It would take about half an hour or more for her to complete taking all her medications; something you or I would do in a minute or less. After Phyllis and Jim had been seated a few minutes, June held up her hand to Mike in a stop motion and gave him that look all husbands learn to recognize as uh-oh what did I do now, or what did I fail to do that I was supposed to do. Then, June pointed to Phyllis and Jim. She wanted Mike to offer them some refreshments. Head aching, tired, hungry, thirsty and needing her medications, she wasn't thinking of herself or her illness, she was thinking of them. For June, others came first, and it wasn't just to be polite, it came from her heart.
June was beautiful a woman inside and outside and became more so as she matured. But as is the way with long term marriages, June was curious about what drew Mike to her at so young an age. So, a couple of months ago June asked Mike, "What was it that first caused you to be attracted me so long ago?" He replied, "Your beautiful, loving smile and the sparkle in your eye." Everyone who met June was treated to that trademark smile of hers. It was irresistible; it was a magnet for friends because it was heartfelt. It was June's smile that attracted Mike, but it was her inner beauty that cemented the relationship, a beauty that would never fade.
Not everyone knows June had a sense of adventure. Whether it was going for a ride on the back of a friend's motorcycle or white water rafting, she was up for it. She was curious about things around her. She would go down a new street just to see where it took her. When a new restaurant opened, she wanted to go there. If a menu offered an unusual fare, she would order it. June looked for fun activities and was very spontaneous as well. One Valentine's Day, she called Mike and told him not to come home. She said to meet her at a hotel where she made reservations and had planned a romantic getaway for them. That sparkle in her eye could become a mischievous at times, too. She would plan quick weekend getaways in Napa or Tahoe, but we won't tell those tales here.
June loved the Lord with all her heart. She faithfully read her Bible and shared His love with everyone. She showed His love in her actions and in her words. She relied on His promises and was at peace all through her illness. For June's last scheduled doctor appointment, Mike had to meet with June's doctor by himself because June was too ill to attend the appointment. June's doctor told him he had consulted with the doctors at UC San Francisco, and they were in agreement in recommending June receive no further medical treatment. Instead, they recommended home hospice as the best for June's quality of life. Mike had to take that news back and share it with June. Upon telling June, Mike asked her if she understood what that meant. Unable to speak because of her illness, June nodded, yes; she realized she was being told she was going to die. Mike asked June if she was at peace with that. June looked at Mike and nodded, yes, again. She shed no tears. She simple smiled her beautiful smile to let him know she was at peace and took Mike's hand to comfort him. As usual, she always was thinking of others before herself. June passed away 19 days later. As June peacefully passed from our lives and into eternity to be with the Lord, she smiled her famous smile. She left us the gift of her smile as an assurance that she was truly at peace.
For those of you who were able to come visit June, the Howard family thanks you for brightening her day. We know many more wanted to come, but gave up that opportunity to allow family members to share time with June. We thank you for your sacrifice. To those who regularly sent June cards during her illness, words are insufficient to express the joy your cards gave June. To June, each card was like receiving a hug from you. To June's sisters, Gail Mahan and Cindy Andrade, their husbands, Jim and Lloyd, and our niece and nephew, Jeanne and Phil Merha, thank you for all the time you spent sitting with June and helping with her and our care. We thank June's sister, Phyllis Delamare, and her husband, Jim, for driving from Southern California to visit June and lend support. We thank our neighbors, Chris and Merri Coulter and their beautiful children, Erin, Ethan and Emilee for their prayers, love and thoughtfulness. To our small group from Bayside Church, thank you for being there for June and our family, you will never know how much your prayers and support helped and how much you are loved. We also thank all those who continued to pray for June and our family throughout the past two years. Prayer is a powerful tool. Initially, June was given six months to live. I believe your prayers contributed to extending that time and allowed June to be with us much longer. Please keep our family in your prayers, and our family will pray in return that the Lord bless all of you.
The Howard Family,
Mike, Jennifer, and Rich