Russell Lee Howard, Jr. passed away on December 27, 2020 at the age of 74, in Fort Wayne, Indiana, after courageously struggling with complications from Covid. Russ was born to Bernice and Russell Lee Howard, Sr. in Muscatine, Iowa and is preceded in death by his parents, his sister Robin, and his brother Jerry Howard. He is survived by his sister-in-law Brenda Nandell-Howard and niece Jessica Howard and Eugene Williams, Jr. and their children Tyree, Taj, and Jerrak. It was during his childhood years along the Mississippi River in Muscatine that Russ began his life-long love for fishing, a pastime joy that he abundantly paid forward to his children and grandchildren as they remember, with smiles, all-night deep sea fishing for Blues, standing in the water waiting for Walleye at 11:30 at night (when Walleye fishing was legal, of course), and being trusted with a prized, advantageous lure that was sure to catch the big one. Not to mention the time Russ spent untangling fishing line that his girls messed up, while they reeled in the fish he hooked. Russ is survived by his wife Eileen, the love of his life, who he met while attending Baptist Bible College in Johnson City, NY. Their love for serving others was a hallmark of their 52 year marriage as Russ served others in multiple ministries throughout the entirety of their marriage. Russ was serving as an Associate Pastor at Auburn Baptist Church with Eileen faithfully supporting and serving with him as always. Her favorite memory of Russ is watching him serve others and be a dad and grandfather. Of all of the wonderful accomplishments in Russ’ life, he was most proud of his children and grandchildren. He is survived by his four daughters, four son-in-law’s, and fourteen grandchildren: Kari and Scott Huckaby and their children Preston, Quinten, Deacon, and Lillian; Becki and Randy Carman and their children Jefferson Taylor and Toby; Tami and Tenny Corbett and their children Baylee, Skyler, Riley, and Tennyson; Bobbi Jo and David Allen and their children Silas, Rowan, Samuel, and Emmitt. Russ had sayings that invited you into his loving way, sayings like “Hey, kiddo”, “you got the green light”, and “go with confidence”. His sayings were just window dressing for the depth of relationship that he was capable of creating. Sitting with you, listening, supporting, and finding ways to help you grow brought him complete and absolute, authentic joy. His manner of being as mentor, friend, coach, pastor, grandfather, father, and husband was that of love, seeing the best in people and what they could be. He made himself available, ready to teach his daughters how to shoot a jump shot or rehash the game just played, walk with his grandson through his entire golf match, coach with his daughter, or sit in the yard waiting for another daughter to pull in from a long trip home. For Russ, it was all about time spent. Memories created. Relationship invested. It didn’t matter what it was really - fishing, sharing books, running, basketball, learning something new — it was always about relationship and memories. That is why his daughters say that “he always put the right book in my hand at the right time” and that “he was my Oprah, my Krzyzewski, my Brene Brown, my C.S. Lewis, and the best example of God I could find on earth.” Russ was a reader and loved storytelling, but most of all, he loved encouraging others in their own story. He gave others the courage to be themselves, to live bigger than they thought capable, to suffer well, and to love well. At the heart of this courage, for him, was his love for Jesus Christ, his Savior and friend - a deep faith that has left the greatest legacy for all who knew him. Russ had always dreamed of publishing the books that he has written. To honor his dream, his family is working toward publishing the three books that Russ had written and left in their care: Rearview Mirror: Mentors and Mentees, Anywhere High, and Family. In lieu of flowers, the family is asking for donations to support bringing Russ’ dream to fruition to publish his books. If you would like to contribute, you can send a check to Howard Publishing Fund, 234 Baxter Street, Auburn, Indiana 46706. Russ’ relationship with Jesus Christ was the cornerstone of his life, and he would say the best decision he ever made. If you would like to learn more about how to accept Jesus as your Savior, please click HERE for more information. No services are planned at this time due to the COVID 19 restrictions and Russ’s battle with the virus. Feller and Clark Funeral Home of Auburn is assisting the family with arrangements. To send condolences visit www.fellerandclark.com.
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