Ronald (“Ronnie”) Clark Howell, a longtime resident of Wantage, N.J., passed away peacefully in his home on Tuesday, March 24, 2020, after a long illness with his loving wife and family by his side. He was 83.
Son of the late Mildred Haggerty Howell Rohel and Leon Clark Howell, he was born at Alexander Linn Hospital in Sussex, N.J., on Feb. 23, 1937.
After the loss of his father, at the young age of 9, he worked with his grandfather on the family farm that taught him a lifelong work ethic. His mother later remarried Roy G. Rohel, owner of Tri-State Supply and Gas, where he made a transition from farm life to a service man. He became familiar with the family business and was well-known by all of his customers in the Tri-State region.
At age 19 Ronnie met the love of his life, Rayna Price, whom he later married on Oct. 4, 1958. They celebrated their 61st wedding anniversary with many family and friends this past June.
They had four beautiful daughters, Debbie Howell of Wantage, Tammy Kuperus and her husband, Thomas, of Hampstead, N.C., Cheryl Cecchini and her husband, Michael, of Wantage, and the late Donna Howell Little; 14 grandchildren, Kristen(Jim) Carruci, Lauren (Ernie) Conklin, Derek (Renata) Kuperus, Danielle (Joshia) Whitten, Meghan (Paul) Putera, Heather (Patrick) Freeland, Jenna (Kyle) Bruffy, Michael (Alissa) Cecchini Jr., Justin Kuperus, Erin (Matt)Washer, Jesse (Caitlin) Kuperus, Brianna (Dan) Caouette, Hope Kuperus, and Mackenzie Ayers; 22 great-grandchildren with one more coming in the fall; brother, Wayne Howell and his wife, Judy, of Wantage; sister, Elaine Eberhardt and her husband, Frank, of Hampton; brother, Roy R. Rohel and his wife, Cindy, of Frankford; sister, Margie Borner, and her husband, Edward, of Cape Coral Fla.; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Ronnie was so very proud to be blessed with a large family, and treasured each and every one.
Ronald was a graduate of Sussex High School, Class of 1955. He worked for Tri-State Supply for many years and was later vice-president of Tri-States True Value until his retirement in 2000. He was well-known and served on the Wantage Planning Board and Township Committee, serving as mayor several times. He took this position very seriously and wanted the very best for the people of Wantage. He served as a board member of the National Bank of Sussex County and on the Lakeland Bank Advisory Board. He was a member of the Sussex United Methodist Church.
Ronnie was always willing to go the extra mile helping out his customers and family members. He exhibited his love and compassion for those less fortunate by giving to the poor, the elderly, and the widowed. Ronnie’s outgoing personality and unforgettable sense of humor carried him through much adversity throughout his life. He fought a valiant battle against Alzheimer’s disease. His lifelong motto was to “Never ever give up” and “Get her done.” He had an outgoing personality and always had a joke or two. His laughter was contagious and loved by all.
Ronnie had a great love for the outdoors, deer hunting, woodworking, ice fishing, snowmobiling, and loved playing horseshoes with his neighbor. Ronnie was passionate about spending countless hours planting and pruning trees, flowers, gardening, mowing and landscaping. His yard always exemplified his love for same.
The family would like to extend their deepest gratitude to both Compassionate Care Hospice of Sparta, N.J., and From the Heart Elder Care of Vernon, N.J., for the loving care given in these past several months to Ronnie.
A private funeral was held on March 27, 2020 at Clove Cemetery in Wantage with the Rev. Daniel Gepford, Pastor of the Sussex United Methodist Church. All funeral arrangements were entrusted to the Pinkel Funeral Home, Sussex, NJ.. A celebration of life will be held at a date to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that all memorial donations may be made to the Sussex United Methodist Church, 15 Bank St., Sussex, NJ 07461.