Life Story Celebration
Thursday, September 28, 2023
5:00 PM to 8:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
Food, drinks, and stories will be shared.
At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
Grant & Michael's College Education Fund
Please make checks to Karen Howes.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
With a quiet demeanor and a heart for hockey, Bruce lived a life full of ice time and dedication to working for what he wanted. Between playing for reputable teams, caring for his family as a husband, or supporting his boys as a loving father - Bruce put in the energy every role required of him. We will remember him for his ability to work and play hard in all aspects of his life - on and off the ice.
Bruce's life began during the dawning decade of the 1960's, which brought some exciting times. Television was becoming a standard household item, as over one hundred million were in homes worldwide. Viewers tuned in to watch the first-ever televised United States presidential debate between Nixon and Kennedy. President Kennedy won the election and became the youngest US President ever to serve in office, while John Diefenbaker was Canada's Prime Minister. For entertainment, many children looked forward to watching episodes of the new cartoon, "The Flintstones," while adults enjoyed watching westerns such as Gunsmoke, The Rifleman and Bonanza, and Hockey Night in Canada was a popular viewer choice to America’s neighbors to the north. A loaf of bread would cost about 20 cents, and you could buy a Polaroid Camera for just under $100 for instant photo gratification.
While the world continued making ever-present headlines, a new life was about to begin in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada. To make news of her own, Lois Howes welcomed her second son, Bruce, into the world on July 4, 1960. His big brother, Glen, was happy to have a built-in playmate.
They were busy boys - interested in physical play and constant movement. Bruce's grandparents, Frank and Olive Pomeroy, were very invested in their grandsons' early life adventures. Their love and support brought about many fun opportunities. The family would visit Saratoga Beach, BC, on Vancouver Island, and Grandpa would drive them up to Oyster River, where they fished and camped. The best part about those trips was the mudslides, which the boys thoroughly enjoyed!
Keeping Bruce occupied with his energy took thought. Around three years old, he put ice skates on his tiny feet. And that was a marvelous moment that would channel the direction of his life from that point on. Someone thought to add a hockey stick and a black rubber puck to the equation - and Bruce was off and skating! When ice wasn't available in the spring, he cross-trained with box lacrosse. Bruce was playing one or the other all year round growing up. Soon, it was evident that he naturally worked as a great defense player.
Hockey was life for Bruce. He lived it, and he breathed it. Starting early, he played house league hockey out of Westminster, BC, and then he played travel out of Burnabee Winter Club. When he was 17, he earned a spot on the New Westminster Bruins of the WCHL. From there, in 1980, he received an amateur tryout invitation from the Adirondack Red Wings, Detroit's affiliate, in Glenn Falls, New York. He made the team and played with them until 1982.
That same year, it was time for a change. Bruce packed up and moved to Kalamazoo, Michigan. He found his new home ice rink with the Kalamazoo K-Wings. Over the next five years, he was known as "Howser" and didn't disappoint with his impressive defensive skills.
All promising hockey careers eventually come to a close, as a body only lasts so long getting checked, hitting the ice with forceful impact, and willing the muscles to keep going even with growing recuperation time. Bruce spent the last years of his career playing with the Saginaw Generals until 1988.
As fate would have it, as it had held back for quite some time, Bruce fell hard again - this time not on the ice! But instead, he fell hard in love. As his hockey career was winding down, he met Karen Lierman. Soon, the happy couple planned a wedding! They exchanged vows in 1991 and became Mr. and Mrs. Bruce and Karen Howes.
Before long, the Howes family grew. Two boys completed their family, Grant Francis John and Michael John. As you might imagine, it didn't take long before both boys were on the ice like their dad. Bruce happily shared his passion for hockey with them and showed them how to get their hands dirty and fix things around the house. From their father, they learned hard work, compassion, and stick-to-itness.
To help them in hockey, Bruce never let them down. He would go out of his way to get them to early morning practices and games. Bruce shared his hockey and life knowledge with countless number of young men as he helped coach high school and travel teams throughout the years.
Aside from hockey, they would go fishing together and always hit the gas station convenience store for snacks ahead of time out of pure tradition.
Bruce strived to provide for his family. For some time, he worked at BJ Sports and later joined Stafford and Smith, from which he recently retired. He believed in putting in hard work and shared this philosophy with his sons - sometimes even bringing them along to work with him.
Sadly, Bruce passed away on Saturday, September 23, 2023. We will never forget his passion for hockey and hard work. May his legacy stay with each of us as we keep the memory of him close to our hearts.
Bruce is survived by his mother Lois Howes, 88, (Campbell River, Vancouver Island) Brother, Glen Howes, (Louise), Black Creek Vancouver Island, Wife Karen Howes, (Lierman) Sons - Grant and Michael. Sister In Laws, Susan Caswell, (DJ), Julie Thompson, (Mark) Pat Herbst, (Kevin) Denise Eesley, (Mike) and Brother In Law John Lierman (Sue) Several Nieces and nephews.
Bruce Howes died on Saturday, September 23, 2023. Cremation has taken place. A Life Story Visitation where food, drinks, and stories will be shared will be held from 5-8 pm on Thursday, September 28, 2023, at Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo (269) 375-2900. Visit Bruce's webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign his guestbook.