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William T. Howard

1/11/1924 - 2/15/2018

PEKIN ~ William Thomas “Bill” Howard, 94, of Pekin, passed away at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, February 15, 2018 at OSF Saint Francis Medical Center in Peoria. 

Born January 11, 1924 in Blanford, Indiana to Huey and Jessie (Evans) Howard, he married Ramona Evelyn (Wells) Caruso on December 17, 1984 in Pekin.  She survives. 

Also surviving are three sons, Chad Caruso of Pekin, Michael (Donna) Howard of Manito, and Glen (Diana) Howard of Pekin; eight grandchildren, Travis Caruso, Coleman Caruso, Felicia (Garett Baughn) Stone, Tory (Dakota) Robards, Jimmy Cross, Cheryl Howard, Mike Howard, and Cliff Howard; four great-grandchildren, Haven, Landyn, Chase, and Makayla; two sisters, Katherine Ohlman of Peoria and Donna (Richard) Meardy of Mapleton; and two brothers, Archie Howard of Peoria Heights and Charles Howard of California. 

He was preceded in death by his parents; two daughters, Linda Howard and Rhonda Caruso; one son, William J. “Bill” Howard; one granddaughter, Laura Howard; three sisters; and two brothers. 

A United States Army veteran of World War II, he served from May 6, 1943 to December 26, 1945.  He attained the rank of Corporal.  He received two Bronze Stars and participated in campaigns at Luzon and New Guinea.  He was an active member of Roy L. King Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #1232 in Pekin, serving as Commander in 1985.  He had served as District Commander, District Chaplin and several committees of District 9-VFW and also Commander and Chaplin of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Tazewell County Council for several years.  He was a member of the Tazewell Military Rites Team.  Bill had participated in an Honor Flight to Washington D.C. 

Bill had worked at Pabst Brewing Company for 10 years.  In 1953, he began working for the Hyster Company in Peoria for 25 years, the last six years as a tool room machinist.  He later worked at Caterpillar, Inc. in the tool room for 4 ½ years. 

Bill had been active in the Boy Scouts of America for 30 years, serving as Cub Master of Douglas School Pack #93 and Assistant Scoutmaster of First United Methodist Church Troop #181 for 15 years.  He also served as Assistant District Commissioner for the District for several years, attaining the Scouters Award, Scouters Key, Wood Bridge Honor and Order of the Arrow. 

He was a 57 year and Life member of Empire Lodge #126 Ancient Free and Accepted Masons of Pekin.  He was a Past Master of Pekin Lodge #29 in 1968 and in 1995, a past Treasurer, and serving as Grand Pursuivant at the Grand Lodge of Illinois in 1999.  For several years he secured many volunteers to man the red kettles for the Salvation Army during the Holiday seasons.  Bill was a member of Scottish Rite Bodies - Valley of Peoria and the Mohammad Temple Shrine in Bartonville, where he was a member of the fire patrol.  He had served as President of the Pekin Consistory Club for 2 years.  Bill was Past Worthy Chief of the Universal Craftsmen Council of Engineers #35 in Peoria and served as Grand Worthy Chief in the United States and Canada in 1970 to 1971.   

He was Past President of Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie #1869 in Pekin for the year 1986 and had served as Vice President and on several committees in the Eagles District.  In 1972, he served as Exalted Ruler of the Benevolent Protective Order of Elks Lodge #1271 in Pekin and on several committees in the West Central District of B.P.O.E. 

Bill was a member of Community Fellowship in South Pekin and a former member of First United Methodist Church in Pekin. 

His visitation will be from 1 to 3 p.m. Monday, February 19, 2018 at Preston-Hanley Funeral Homes & Crematory in Pekin.  A Masonic service will be held at 3 p.m. followed by his funeral.  Pastor Keith Huff will officiate.  Burial will be at 11 a.m. Wednesday at Camp Butler National Cemetery in Springfield, where military rites will be accorded by the United States Army and the Inter-Veterans Burial Detail of Sangamon County. 

Memorial contributions may be made to the charity of the donor’s choice. 

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