On March 15, 2018, with loving family at this side, Howard Eugene Reinke, 85, of Auburn, MI, went peacefully into the arms of his Lord. The son of the late William F. and Helen (Curtis) Reinke, Howard was born on September 14, 1932, in Tawas City, MI. On November 12, 1955, he married Tania Jones, who survives him. Together they had nine children, Tina (Jerry) Carter, Oceanside, CA, Dennis (Bonnie) Reinke, Kawkawlin, Tamie (Chris) Luty, Edenville, Teresa (Denny) Proctor, Cheboygan, Robin (Tammy) Reinke, Auburn, Teri (Norman) Cregger, Mt. Pleasant, Jerome (Pattie Jo) Reinke, Bay City, Eric (Kelly) Reinke, Henderson, NV, and Trinette (Greg) Stillman, Whitefish Bay, WI. In 1991 he married Barbara Jones, who predeceased him in 2015.
Howard was born into the Catholic faith and was a member of St Joseph/St Gabriel parish in Auburn for the past 56 years. He was a 3rd Degree Member of the Knights of Columbus Council 3590. Howard walked through life with deep religious conviction, freely sharing his faith with all who knew him. He took pride in many years of service to his parish cherishing the sense of community and purpose it provided him.
Howard honorably served his country in the United States Air Force, 1952-1956, stationed 18 months at Wheelus Air Base, Tripoli, Libia, during the Korean War. He received an Honorable discharge as Airman First Class and was awarded the Good Conduct Medal and the National Defense Service Medal. Howard was a Life Member of the VFW Post 6950, serving as Jr. Vice Commander for 5 years.
As a young man, Howard was very proud of his years with the Boy Scouts of America, achieving Eagle rank and induction into the Order of the Arrow-the Scouting National Honor Society. He was a member of the Future Farmers of America, often recounting youthful summers spent on the family farm in Hale, completing agricultural projects and taking blue ribbons showing poultry at the fair. Howard was proud of the many jobs he worked over his lifetime. He often reminisced of teen years, selling shoes downtown at Penneyâ€™sâ€”hired after hearing an announcement for help over the PA while attending Midland High, setting bowling pins for Ed Gibson, and working at Demskiâ€™s Garage on the Circle. He remembered with fondness working for young Earl Bennett, building his first houses in Midland. In 1956, Howard received a certificate in Dairy Production from Michigan State University, and went to work farming. He eventually worked 17 years for Dow Chemical in Bay City, and another 20 years with the Laborersâ€™ Local 1098. Necessitated by his ever-growing family, Howard often held second jobs, one of which was unloading cargo at the shipyards in Bay City. Occasionally a crate would break open and he would arrive home with a toy car or other small prize tucked into his lunch pail, much to the delight of his children. Throughout his life he continued his interest in agriculture, raising small animals and a home garden that included fruit trees, many variety of vegetables, endless strawberries and raspberries, and even grapes for wine. Howard was a conservationist at heart, planting many trees over the years. He often talked with pride about the thousands of pines planted on his familyâ€™s farm in Hale. He took joy in flowers, establishing beautiful perennial flowerbeds throughout his property.
Howard spent many summers camping as a child. He continued the tradition as an adult, traveling north with a station wagon full of kids, pulling a loaded red Knox trailer he loved to explore the state park system in Michigan. On these trips Howard couldnâ€™t resist exploring old abandoned homesteads and barns, many in the Upper Peninsula, always searching for clues of the past. Often he drove away with some old bottle or other junk artifact, long abandoned, but a treasure to him. Howard took his family camping to the Curtis homestead in Hale where he took his children walking in the woods, splashing in the creek, exploring, and telling stories of the log cabin where he had played as a child.
Howard enjoyed a lifelong passion for all things historical but especially automobiles. His passion blossomed into a collection of many unique and beautiful antique cars. He spent a lifetime restoring, touring, parading, showing-often in vintage costume complete with straw hat, and judging antique automobiles, and collecting all things petroliana. He collected so much gas station memorabilia that he built a 1930â€™s-vintage gas station on his property, almost entirely from salvage, fully stocked and furnished, complete with gas pumps. He gave many tours of his gas station, regaling his guests with historical tidbits and colorful stories. Howard was a Chevrolet man at heart but owned many makes of antique cars over the years. He was especially proud of his three De Vaux autos and his Mullins trailer, always eager to share their history. It could be said that he was happiest when he was walking the grounds of a car show and swap meet, a box of new old parts tucked under his arm for the trip home. Howard was a member of many car clubs, including the National Antique Automobile Club of America, Vintage Chevrolet Club of Americaâ€”founding member of the Lower MI Region, Vintage Motor Car Club of America, Saginaw Valley Region Old Car Club, Durant Motors Automobile Club, The Mullins Owners Club, and founding member of the Cars of the Past Touring Club. He was a tireless advocate of the hobby, travelling extensively to meets, shows, and museums, touching the lives of many antique car enthusiasts across the country. Howard was especially proud of his many years as a Senior Master Judge and Certified Team Captain with the NAACA. He reached 148 of the coveted 150-credit judging award and wished for the ability to judge just one more meet. How wonderful he can now attain that milestone, for surely he will find a Hershey meet in Heaven.
Howard was a voracious reader, amassing a sizable library of antique car manuals and literature, and many chronicles pertaining to World War II, all of which he delighted in sharing with family and friends. In his later years Howard enjoyed puzzling, especially a 1000 piece challenge, often completing a new puzzle each week. Howard was an avid card playerâ€”teaching all of his children penny poker, rummy and euchre. He continued card playing all the years of his life, taking great pleasure gathering for a card game with friends and family.
Howard found loving companionship with many pets over the years. Always a soft heart for shelter animals, he adopted several. He leaves behind his beloved cats, Cheetah and Goldie, who enjoyed many days of treats and lap sitting with him.
Howard lived his life with passion, determination, and resourcefulness. Strong in his faith, brave during adversity, giving freely of his time and talent, he was a role model of industry to all who knew him. Martin Luther King Jr. once said, â€œThe ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.â€ By this measure Howard was a giant. He will be dearly missed by his children, sister Delores (William) Hoag, Salina, OK, brother Richard (Evelyn) Reinke, St. Charles, and sister Kathleen (Robert) Tuggle, Hale, 38 grandchildren, 31 great grandchildren, and many cherished nieces and nephews. Howard was predeceased by his brother William J. (Lorraine) Reinke, brother-in-law William Butcher, and Great Grandson, Ryan Reinke.
A Memorial Liturgy will be held at 11:00 am on Thursday, April 12th, 2018 at St. Gabriel Parish West Campus (St. Anthony in Fisherville), 1492 W. Midland Rd, Auburn 48611. Friends may visit with the family at the church from 9:00 am until the time of service. Burial will take place at Great Lakes National Cemetery, Holly.
Those planning an expression of sympathy are asked to consider the Antique Automobile Club of America Scholarships or the Humane Society of Midland County.
Online condolences can be left at smithminer.com.