Howard Davis, 90, of Hartford SD, passed away Sunday August 23, 2020 at Avera McKennan Hospital in Sioux Falls.
Howard Lawrence Davis was born September 7, 1929, to the late Lawrence and Thelma (Sprague) Davis in Faulkton, SD. His parents farmed near Orient, SD, and it was here that Howard began to appreciate the value of a hard day’s work. He received his education in country schools around the Orient area, and ultimately graduated from Miller High School in 1947. In January of 1951, Howard enlisted in the military and served faithfully in the US Navy. Much of his service was spent onboard the USS Yorktown Aircraft Carrier during the Korean War. He talked about seeing many countries during this time (as well as a few great hands of poker!). He received his honorable discharge in January of 1955.
On May 25, 1955, Howard was united in marriage with Karlene Mae Tewell, in Pierre, SD. Through this joyful union, Howard and Karlene were blessed with four children. Howard worked in various construction jobs as a welder. Until his retirement, he spent many years welding for the Caterpillar dealership in Sioux Falls. Howard also lovingly cared for Karlene, who passed away on September 2, 1996. He later married Donna Mae Nilson on June 9, 2005, in Hartford, SD. Donna kept Howard young; they frequently traveled and participated in many activities in Hartford, where they continued to live until his death. Howard and Donna were a well-respected couple in their community.
Howard was very active in the South Dakota USA Softball Association, having been a player, coach, and an umpire. His service to the softball community spanned 50 years. He loved watching his children, grandchildren, and friends participate in softball, baseball, and many other sports and activities. He thoroughly enjoyed hunting, fishing, woodworking, and gardening. Howard was an avid Minnesota Twins and Vikings fan. He was once honored by the Minnesota Twins for his service to South Dakota softball and his tenure as an umpire. Howard was also a member of the American Legion in Hartford, and as a Korean War veteran, he recently took part in an Honor Flight to Washington, DC. If there was a word to best describe Howard, it would be “active!”
Grateful for having shared his life are his wife, Donna, of Hartford SD; his children Kristine (Michael) Riggert of Odell, NE, Larry (Sara) Davis of Hartford, SD, Kim (Michael) Larson of Wentworth, SD, and Lisa (Leonard) Heck of Apple Valley, MN; 9 grandchildren; 13 great-grandchildren; 6 step-grandchildren; his step-sons Shad (Lisa) Nilson of Hartford SD and Shon (Emily) Nilson of Sioux Falls SD; his brothers, Jack Davis of Friday Harbor, Washington, and Kirk (Karen) Davis of Elk River, MN; and his sisters, Karol (Elmer) Eichelberg of St. Michael, MN and Karlene Ullrich of Albertville, MN. To quote Howard, he was an ordinary man, living an ordinary life. To his friends and family, he was anything but ordinary. Howard was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife Karlene Davis; two sisters-in-law; and one brother-in-law.
General visitation for Howard will be 2:00 - 7:00 pm Wednesday at Miller Funeral Home, Hartford Chapel. Private funeral services will be held in Sioux Falls. Interment will be in the Hartford Cemetery. The funeral service will be live-streamed over the Miller Funeral Home YouTube channel beginning at 9:45 am Thursday. You may access this channel by going to https://youtu.be/3250lUyMSOM
The family requests that memorials be directed to the Hartford American Legion or to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.