Verona Howell, age 98, of Glencoe, Minnesota, passed away Sunday, March 10, 2019, at Woodstone Senior Living in Hutchinson, Minnesota.
No services will be held.
Verona Frieda (née Jannusch) Howell, age 98, of Glencoe, Minnesota, died peacefully on March 10, 2019, at Woodstone Senior Living in Hutchinson, Minnesota, after a brief illness. Verona went by the name Babe to those who knew her well; she was a feisty, hard-working woman who had known great sorrow but had lived a fulfilled and joyful life.
Babe was born November 7, 1920, at her parent’s home in Plato, Minnesota. She was so small at birth her father placed her in a boot box and named her Babe. This nickname stuck with her throughout her life. She was the sixth of seven children born to Ferdinand and Laura (Litzau) Jannusch. She was confirmed at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ; her education went through the eighth grade, graduating from the Plato Public School on June 1, 1934.
In 1936, Babe was employed as a nanny and housekeeper on 54th street in New York City. During one of the worst years of the Great Depression, she enjoyed the exciting life of urban Manhattan, strolling with the baby to Central Park each afternoon and walking the family Irish setter along the East River each morning. Although she wasn’t in New York City for long, she spoke with great fondness for the people she met there and the many great experiences she enjoyed.
Babe returned to Norwood, Minnesota, where she was employed as a housekeeper at a hotel in Norwood. She married Joey P. Olson on November 16, 1938, and they farmed along with Joey’s family in Plato. Joey passed away after a stretch of heart problems on July 5, 1955.
Now a widow with four children, Babe went to work at her sister and brother-in-law’s restaurant, Ted and Dora’s, in Plato. There she cooked, waitressed and tended bar. She enjoyed her work and was proud to be part of the business Ted and Dora Kingsley built.
On November 10, 1955, tragedy struck the family again when her two oldest children, along with four other teenaged friends, were struck and killed by a train as they were out on an evening drive. Nearly three months later Babe’s father, Ferdinand, was also killed in a car-train accident at the same intersection. These incidents, along with others, led to stronger safety measures being implemented at railroad crossings.
Babe met and married Dick (Richard) Howell, and moved to Glencoe. Always a hard worker, she continued to work at Ted and Dora’s, did bookwork for her husband, worked pea and corn pack at Green Giant in the summers, and still had time to keep an orderly house for her growing family.
Several years after Dick retired they moved to a 15 acre hobby farm just outside of Doniphan, Missouri. For the next 14 years they enjoyed tending their garden and fruit trees, raising horses and all manner of fowl, and building strong friendships with their new neighbors. When Dick’s health began to fail in 1990 they moved back to Glencoe to be near family and old friends once again. Dick passed away on April 19, 1991.
She enjoyed keeping in contact with her sisters and brothers, nieces and nephews, sons, daughters, and their spouses, and her beloved grandchildren. Babe was a playful, kind and loving grandmother.
Babe was preceded in death by her parents, Ferinand and Laura Jannusch, brothers Leonard, George (Spike) and Fred (Tack), sisters Christina Monroe and Dora Kingsley; husbands Joey P. Olson, and Dick Howell, children Kari and Maurice Olson, and step-daughter Marianne (Howell) Schuette, and sons-in-law Ken Nelson and Thomas Johnson. She is survived by her sister Luella Ristow of Norwood Young America, sons Lawrence Olson (Patti), and Raymond Howell (Lisa) of Glencoe, and daughters Margery Nelson of Riverside, CA, Jean Martin (Rob) of Prescott Valley, AZ, Jinx Howell, of Minneapolis, and son-in-law Myron Schuette of Minneapolis. She is also survived by thirteen grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
The family would like to thank the staff of Woodstone Senior Living for the care they provided to Babe. Their compassion and love were so apparent, especially in Babe’s final hours. We appreciate that our mother was free to “tootle about’’ in her wheelchair to her heart’s delight.
In keeping with Babe’s wishes, funeral services will not be held.