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Nathan Edward Howison

Nathan Edward Howison, 90, passed away on August 16, 2017, at his home at Colonial Villa in Midland, MI. He was born in Port Huron, MI, on June 11, 1927, to the late Lyal and Idabelle (May) Howison.

Nate’s father was a life-long pastor for the Free Methodist Church in Michigan, which found the family constantly moving to new ministries throughout Nate’s childhood. He ultimately settled in Midland, graduating from Midland High School (MHS) in 1945 where he played football and ran track. He was tight end for an undefeated football season and held the 100-yard dash record of 9.9 seconds.

Soon after graduation, Nate joined The Dow Chemical Company as an operator. His employ was marked by the 414 Latex Plant explosion in 1950, where he was the last man brought out alive. He always considered it a miracle to have survived. Back then, they did not have medical leave or pay, so thanks to the help of family, friends and neighbors, his family was able to pull through during his time off work.

Nate moved to the line crew after his recovery and after 10 years of climbing poles and studying to become an electrician, he was named a Journeyman Electrician in the Maintenance Department, then advanced to the foreman position in the Environmental Department. He retired after 36 years at Dow.

Nate enjoyed softball, wood carving, music, playing harmonica and singing, and played in several Christian and country bands. He enjoyed many years of family fun at Wixom Lake where he built the family cabin and helped teach his five children how to swim, fish and water ski.

Nate was also an avid deer and bird hunter, and enjoyed traipsing the fields with his son in the Bullock Creek area where the family owned 10 acres. Nate was also a hobby farmer who loved puttering around on his tractor and harvesting fresh food – often grown organically. Later, he became an expert at growing orchids and was known for his greenhouse full of beautiful orchids along with hybrid lilies.

Nate is survived by his brother Ron (Marian) Howison of Port Huron, as well as five children: Barbara (Kevin) Edie of Hillsboro, OR; Mark (Katie) Howison of Midland, MI; Patty (Michael) Cox of St. Louis, MI; Marilyn (Dale) Howard of Perry, MI; and Sheryl (Dave) Gehrls of Omaha, NE. Also surviving him are 11 grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. The family would like to extend a special thanks to his good friend Norma, his caregiver Lacey, and to all of the staff and residents at Washington Woods and Colonial Villa for their kindness toward Nate.

Nate was preceded in death by his parents; his two brothers Robert and Calvin Howison (Calvin died in the USS Forrestal fire during the Vietnam War); his granddaughter Renee Gehrls; his first wife Wilma Howison Sperry; and his second wife Mary Howison.

Cremation has taken place and a memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 16, at the Free Methodist Church on Eastman Road in Midland at 2 p.m., followed by a late luncheon.

The Smith-Miner Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

Online condolences can be provided at smithminer.com.