Where Food, Drinks & Stories Are Shared

Roosevelt "Rosie" Howard

October 7, 1940 - June 22, 2021
Pahrump, NV, Formerly of Plainwell, MI


Life Story Service

Friday, July 30, 2021
3:00 PM EDT
Betzler Life Story Funeral Homes
Kalamazoo Location
6080 Stadium Drive
Kalamazoo, MI 49009
(269) 375-2900

A reception will follow in our Life Story Center where food, drinks, and stories will be shared.

Driving Directions


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.

United Way
Web Site

March of Dimes
Web Site


Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.

1830 S. Westnedge
Kalamazoo, MI 49008
(269) 349-4961
Driving Directions
Web Site

Life Story / Obituary


Roosevelt Howard was a loving husband, father, and grandfather. Active throughout his life, he made the most of each and every moment. He modeled a lifetime of showing compassion towards others and his wonderful collection of memories will remain dear to his special family and friends forevermore.

Roosevelt's story begins in the year 1940. The effects of the Great Depression were finally beginning to ease, yet there was tension in Europe when Germany invaded France. Such emotional times led to the release of major motion pictures such as Gone With the Wind and Jazz music boomed with the tunes of Benny Goodman and Count Basie. Meanwhile, E.L. and McNetta (Pickett) Howard welcomed home their newborn son, Roosevelt, on October 7, 1940 in Lexington, Mississippi. His birth brought much happiness into their loving home.

Growing up in Detroit, Roosevelt lived a typical childhood of the times. His inquisitive nature was seen at a young age. He was always active and on the go. Roosevelt loved to tinker with bicycles and spent his young adult years delivering telegrams to his friends and brothers by riding his bike around town. He would often find his next treasured bicycle at a local garage sale and with a little work would have them ready for the road in no time. Completely by chance, he even bought his wife’s old bicycle from when she was in high school! After graduating from Northeastern High School, he landed a job with Chrysler Sterling. A few years later, he moved to Kalamazoo to work at the State Hospital. Not to be forgotten, was the meeting of his future bride, Dorothy. He was working with a man who lived next door to her. Roosevelt would often strike up a conversation with her on one of his many visits. Finally, he worked up the courage to ask her out and the rest was history! Sharing many commonalities, they married on July 9, 1963. Together they raised three wonderful children: Roosevelt II, Eric, and Carla.

As a father, Roosevelt was stern, yet loving. He wanted nothing but the best for his children and spent as much time as he could supporting their many interests. He was always there for their special school events and sporting events. Roosevelt would often make sandwiches to take with them to the local drive-in theaters and enjoyed many years of vacationing all over the United States with his family. Mostly during the summer months, they visited California, Florida, Delaware, Washington D.C. and many parts of the east coast in their motorhome. Roosevelt always enjoyed building and fixing things. A highlight of these years was the dune buggy he built to pull behind the family motorhome. They would often take it up north and ride around the campgrounds. When the kids were older, they took longer family trips to the Bahamas, Jamaica, and many other destinations. If something sparked an interest in him, Roosevelt was sure to plan a trip to see it! They made many lasting memories traveling together over the years. All in all, Roosevelt was supportive and encouraged his kids to finish what they started.

He was always a strong provider to the family he loved. In his early years, he tried his hand as a small farmer. He had horses, chickens, pigs, and a huge garden. Roosevelt loved to harvest the crops and brought home pickup truck loads of fruits from other farmers to can them for the winter. His luck would change for the better when he landed his thirty-four-year career with the General Motors plant on Sprinkle Road. Never afraid of hard work, he would put in a full shift in the HR department during the week and as a maintenance welder on the weekends. It was common for him to travel to other plants and give seminars, packing in a full seven days a week throughout his time with the company. By the time he retired, he was the senior most employee and very popular among his co-workers. Roosevelt was a strong believer in fair working conditions and wages and was a proud member of the UAW. In addition to taking care of his family, he gave generously to the United Way and Salvation Army efforts in Kalamazoo County.

Roosevelt lived his life to the fullest. When he wasn’t working, he was always keeping himself busy around the house. He loved to work on remodeling projects over the years. His son, Eric, would usually help. Together they completed a pole barn in the backyard where they entertained large gatherings of family and friends. Roosevelt loved to work with his hands and if he could do it himself, he’d get it done. No job was too big as long as he was able to finish what he had started.

Roosevelt loved following his hometown team, the Detroit Pistons and attended several games. He stayed true to his love of the Motor City, listening to Motown music and the oldies throughout his life. Later, he settled down near Las Vegas where he enjoyed milder winters and special visits from family. May his family find comfort in the many special memories that he leaves behind and may they reflect back on the beautiful example he gave them of unconditional love.

Roosevelt “Rosie” Howard, age 80, of Pahrump, Nevada, formerly of Plainwell, Michigan, died peacefully on June 22, 2021. Roosevelt was preceded in death by his parents and his brother-in-law, Ralph Bell. Surviving are his wife of 58 years, Dorothy; children: Roosevelt Howard II (Donna Wynne), Eric (Kathy) Howard, and Carla Howard; granddaughter: Courtney Howard; siblings: Johnny (Sally) Howard and Mary Ellen Bell; in-laws: Lorraine Pitts, Wendy Buckner and Harry (Doretha) Buckner II; and many nieces and nephews. Cremation has taken place. Please join us for a Life Story Service on Friday, July 30, 2021, at 3 PM at Betzler Life Story Funeral Home, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 269-375-2900. A reception will follow in the Life Story Center where food, drinks, and stories will be shared. Visit Roosevelt’s webpage at BetzlerLifeStory.com to archive favorite memories, photos, and sign his guestbook. Memorial contributions may be made to United Way or March of Dimes.