Howell, Gerald G. “Smokey”, Saginaw, Michigan


Passed away on Wednesday, July 6, 2011, at Covenant Medical Center-Cooper. Age 74 years. He was born on July 7, 1936, in Saginaw, to the late Leonard and Margaret (Pickell) Howell. Smokey served in the U.S. Army while stationed in Gelnhausen, Germany from 1959–1961, and was honorably discharged in 1965. Prior to his retirement, Smokey was employed at Schmerheim Electric for 20 years as a truck driver. He accepted Christ as his Lord and Savior on July 19, 2008, and was Baptized at the United Pentecostal Church in Bridgeport, officiating was Pastor Kevin Leaman. Smokey was well known for his show cars, especially at the Green Acres parking lot on Friday nights during summers. Over the years, Smokey worked in pyrotechnics for Dave Oppermann, shooting off firework shows in Evansville, IN; Hoyt Park, Saginaw; and with friend, Bob Schiff, shot off a show for Pyro Spectaculars on a barge on the Hudson River in New York City. Following his retirement, he also worked with Tom Denton, installing furnaces and air conditioners. Surviving are his brother and sisters and their spouses, Leonard Jr. (Ruth) Howell, Saginaw; Mary Ellen (Cliff) Gregory, Shields; Barbara M. Johnson, Midland; special nephew and niece, Darren Sr. (Carol) Howell, Zilwaukee with whom Smokey was involved in their lives for over 20 years, working along with Darren and his kids teaching them thing about cars and attending many car shows with them, being included in activities, picnics, parties and more. Smokey was proud to purchase a car hoist for Darren to put in his pole barn so they could work on cars. He was so proud he could do that for them. When attending car shows, they would drive two of Smokey’s vehicles so that all three of his vehicles could be on display. In return, Smokey helped the family where he could and made himself a part of their family. When it got to where he was unable to drive, his brother Leonard and wife Ruth would take him places so he wasn’t left behind. His sister Mary would always make sure he got big trays of cookies during the holidays. Also surviving are another special nephew and niece, Steven (Diane) Howell, Sr., Reese, whom they would let Smokey store his vehicles in their barn; niece, Amy Jo (Douglas) Wortley, Saginaw, whom he enjoyed giving a big jar of loose change, all taped up and smiling as she opened it little by little, during the holidays; great-nephews, Darren Jr. and Jeff Howell; Steven Howell Jr.; great-great-nephews and niece, Cameron Howell; Gregory Wayne Wortley; Sarah Karen Wortley; special friends, Dave Oppermann, Bob Schiff, Tom Denton, and Aaron and Wendy Reynolds, who were neighbors who helped him along the way. He was predeceased by his niece, Karen Ann Gregory; his nephew, Wayne Gregory; and his brother-in-law, Donald Johnson. Smokey’s funeral celebration will take place on Saturday, July 9, 2011 at 11:00 a.m. at the Wakeman Funeral Home, Inc., 1218 N. Michigan Ave. The Rev. Kevin Leaman will officiate with burial in the Veteran’s section of Forest Lawn Cemetery, with military honor guard conducted under the auspices of American Legion Post # 439. Friends are welcome to visit with the family at the Wakeman Funeral Home, Inc. on Friday from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. and 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., then on Saturday from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service. Memorial contributions may be given to Alzheimer’s Assoc., American Cancer Society, or Cystic Fibrosis Assoc. Memories and sympathies may be shared with Smokey’s family on his Obituary page at www.wakemanfuneralhome.com.