Jan. 20, 1931 – Saturday, Nov. 23, 2019
Fall was Mom’s favorite time of year, and so it is fitting that she “checked out,” as she would say, at Tri-State Memorial Hospital last Saturday evening before the winter cold.
Born in Louisville, Ky., to John York Wilson and Nora Langan Wilson, she married at 16 and moved all over the country, from Savannah, Ga., to Montgomery, Ala., St. Louis and New Orleans; and then Raton, Santa Fe, Albuquerque and Farmington, N.M.; Davenport, Iowa and Spokane. She landed in Asotin in 1964 and settled in Clarkston in 1975. In more recent years, she claimed she no longer had a Southern accent, but all who knew her could raise an eyebrow at that one.
She is survived by her children, Dr. James Howlett Jr., (and Jean), of Asotin; Cheryl Howlett, of Bellevue, Wash.; Dr. Brian Howlett (and Debbie Elliott), of Clarkston; Adrienne Wilson, of Las Cruces, N.M.; nine grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren.
Married to Dr. James Howlett Sr., from Aug. 30, 1947, to 1971, she supported the family, working as a bookkeeper in an auto parts store and then a high-end dress shop in Davenport, Iowa, while he attended Palmer College of Chiropractic. She married George Macy in May 1973, and they lived in Pondicherry, India, for six months while George worked toward a doctorate in yoga, and afterward, they completed their trip around the world. They were married for 17 years.
Her fun-loving younger sister, JoAnn Kuzuoka, of Louisville, predeceased her, but nephew John Kuzuoka and nieces Janice Eileen Miles and Jean Schrecker survive her. Her best friend, Sigrid MacDonald, whom she continued to visit in her dreams, preceded her in death, as did her dear friend, Ruby Peterson.
Mom attended Catholic high school at Mercy Academy in Louisville; at age 36, she earned her GED and enrolled in Lewis-Clark State College at the same time as her oldest son and daughter. At 65, she passed real estate exams for both Washington and Idaho. She was a founding member of Unity Church in Lewiston and an active member of Dale Carnegie for many years.
In December 1998, she won the Good Citizen Award and Citizen Service Award from the Clarkston and Lewiston police departments, respectively, for “hosting” the SWAT team in her home for several days while officers talked down a neighbor who was repeatedly firing a gun. The standoff ended peacefully — and left her with a wild story to tell.
In the ’60s, she worked for the Asotin County Treasurer’s Office. For decades, she was a dental receptionist and bookkeeper for Drs. Gary Gage, Dennis Riendeau, Galen Haas and Rob Meyers, as well as a dental assistant in the Tri-Cities. She had her own housecleaning business in the ’80s and ’90s. Until her death, she managed the Clarkston triplex she owned and lived in, advertising vacancies from the “Angelic Landlady.” She even baked cookies for her tenants. Her all-time favorite job after retirement was taking care of her grandchildren, and later, her great-grandchildren. Nothing was more important or precious to her than that.
This beautiful, loving lady is gone from our embrace, but not from our hearts and minds. The warmth and joy that she created will last through the three generations who loved and will miss her.
Special thanks to Dr. Leroy Smith at Tri-State for his kindness and care.
We will celebrate Mom’s life at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7, at Happy Day Catering, 700 Sixth St., Clarkston.