Pastor Howard LeRoy Stewart left us on April 28, 2019. He will be well and truly missed. However, we want to remember him for who he was and what he did while he was with us. It all began on a warm summer day in August, the 24th to be exact, in the year of our Lord 1930. Howard was born to Howard and Martha Stewart in Fargo, North Dakota. He grew up in Fargo where he was baptized and confirmed. He learned to play the clarinet, sang in the choir, and joined the Boy Scouts. He spent several years delivering the Forum. In 1948 he enrolled at Moorhead State University with the intention of becoming a teacher. Howard was on the swim team, a member of the drama club and was also a cheerleader but spent much of his time playing ping pong and pinochle. Howard first felt the call to enter the pastoral ministry while at MSU. In 1948 he also joined the North Dakota Air National Guard where he became a crew chief in charge of P51 Mustang fighters. His unit was called to active duty during the Korean Conflict and assigned to Moody Flying Field in Valdosta, GA and later transferred to Victorville, CA. Howard was discharged in July 1952 and returned to Fargo. Now that the military was behind him, it was time to focus on his goal of becoming a pastor. He visited Luther College in Decorah, Iowa on a referral from his pastor and enrolled there in the fall of 1952 with majors in Religion, Bible, Classics and minors in Sociology, Music and Latin. He sang in the Chapel Choir and took part in the Messiah which resulted in a life-changing meeting. After one Messiah rehearsal in 1954, he and a friend were in line for dinner at the Boarding Club when he met Verda Olson. It was a whirlwind courtship. They were engaged a few weeks later and married on July 21, 1956. Howard started at Luther Seminary in St Paul in 1955, graduated in 1961 and was ordained on July 9, 1961. He had his internship in Fosston and served parishes in Wendell, Windom, Halstad and Cormorant with interim ministry in Baudette, Ashby, Waubun, Hawley and Osage. He was visitation pastor at Trinity in Detroit Lakes. Howard retired from the ministry in 2003 but was often called to “fill in” until 2009. During his many years of ministry, he baptized 252; confirmed 259; performed 150 marriages and had funeral services for 228. He accepted 399 new members into the congregations and when he retired from full-time ministry in 1994 he had delivered 1789 sermons – some more than once when he had more than one congregation on a Sunday. That explains part of why he touched so many lives. Howard and Verda have four children – John (Tammy), Sue, Paul (Roxann), and Christine (John) and 7 grandchildren – Wally (Marianna), Morgan, Andy, Sarah, Michael, Hannah (Alex) and Matthew. Howard and Verda enjoyed camping and vacations to the Black Hills and Badlands in 1965 with four small children, many family vacations to Floyd Lake and the Olson farm in Melrose, WI, extended family vacations to Glacier, the Canadian Rockies, Spokane (the World’s Fair), Colorado, the upper peninsula of Michigan and Wisconsin, a Baltic cruise with Sue in 2003 and an Alaskan cruise with John and Tammy in 2005. Howard and Verda fostered cats for the Humane Society having 170, total over the years. He enjoyed volunteering at the Becker County Humane Society (more than 1200 hours total), scuba diving, golf, bowling, and creating hand-made Christmas ornaments and balsa wood model airplanes. He swam across Floyd Lake (once at age 19 and again in 2002 and 2003 at ages 72 & 73!) and walked across (on the ice of course!) in 2005. He had a membership at the Holmes Center in Detroit Lakes through 2015. He walked 950 miles and swam 450 miles there. He went on a hot air balloon ride for his 80th birthday over Detroit Lakes with John and Sue. He was very active in Teens Encounter Christ and helped promote Prayer TEC. In his early ministry he worked with Campus Ministry, Minnesota Council of Churches, Pathways, Valley Migrant Mission and RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program). He was also a Webelos leader for several years. He was a member of the Lions and Community clubs in areas where he lived. After moving to Detroit Lakes, he became a Floyd Shores beach captain, was chairman of the Ecology committee and chairman of COLA (Coalition of Lakes Association). He was a very special man who lived a full and rewarding life that touched many people in so many ways. Thank you, God for giving him to us for so many years. Now we relinquish him to Your care!