Leo Howard

The Buffalo News - February 2, 2020
HOWARD - Leo E. Age 84, of the City of Tonawanda, January 27, 2020. Loving husband of Sue (Graham) Howard; father of Karen (Mike Mather) and David (Karen); cherished grandfather of Christiana, Jason, and Allison. Leo was a graduate of Lafayette High School and an Army Airborne Veteran stationed in Korea. He graduated from Erie County Tech with a degree in Civil Engineering and worked for J.W. Cowper and Ciminelli Construction Companies. He will be remembered by many for always having a big smile and a big heart. Leo loved helping people; everyone was a friend. He made an anatomical gift donation to UB School of Medicine. Per his wishes, there will be no visitation or service.

I first met Leo when I started 3rd grade at P. S. Number 19, after our family moved to West Avenue in 1944.  I was a skinny '95 pound weakling', and Leo was a tough kid that nobody messed around with.  He became not only my protector, but my dear friend.  I spent many an hour and ate many a lunch of baloney and ketchup on white bread at Leo's, an apartment on Barton street where he lived with his sister Joan and their mother, the former Mabel Van Every.

We attended Lafayette High School together, and in 1953, Leo sponsored me for membership in Tau Zeta Tau Fraternity, a highlight of my young life.  Our fraternity had many meetings and parties at Leo's.  After high school, and after we had both served in the Army, he in Korea and I in Germany, our friendship remained solid, and we even went into 'business' together, as "Leo and Ange - General Contracting".  We did house painting, chimney and brick repair, and light remodeling.  Leo was the expert, applying skills he had learned form his father Everett "Jack" Howard.  Leo's middle name was Everett, but you dasn't ever call him that!  Most of our friends were Sicilian Americans, and Leo was an honorary one.  We even started calling him "Howard Leo".

Leo's father Jack taught him how to measure, cut and nail lumber; how to 'point' the mortar in chimneys and brick walls with special trowels; how to replace glass in broken windows and how to paint windows so they weren't frozen shut; how to clean a paint can's rim so the lid doesn't make a mess when it's replaced; and myriad other useful skills.  And Leo taught me.  I developed into a pretty good 'do-it-yourselfer' by the time I finally had my own home, but I owe it all to Leo, and I always applied his advice: "It only costs a little more to go first class."

Eventually, I went to U. B. for Civil Engineering and Leo earned a Civil Engineering degree from Erie County Technical Institute.  Through those years, we remained close, and in 1958, I was best man for Sue and Leo's wedding.  Leo was always a free spirit and claimed he would never get married.  We razzed him when he finally decided to tie the knot, but he said "This one's too good to let her get away."


They were to be married in the rectory of a small church, with just the wedding party present.  When I arrived with Leo and Sue, there was an elderly man out front mowing the lawn, dressed in rough clothes: work pants and a flannel shirt; and he had a couple days' growth of beard.  On looking at him more closely, Leo realized that it was the minister!  The cleric had forgotten about the wedding, but he threw on a black robe, invited us in to the basement rec-room/rectory, and did the honors.  Leo was ready to slug me because I fumbled with the ring, but I finally dug it out of my pocket, and all was good.

Memories were made on trips with TZT brothers to the Adirondacks, especially one in the '50's with Charlie Polito, Sam Liotta, Charlie Manuele, Max Linton, Leo and me.  We 'went fishing' and caught not much more than colds - and a lot of laughs! Over the years, sometimes Leo and I saw each other frequently, sometimes less often, but anytime I needed anything, day or night, Leo was there. 

In recent years, we re-connected with the "Tuesday morning breakfast gang", and as recently as 2017, Leo helped me re-construct an old shed in our back yard.  As usual, every cut was perfect, every nail was countersunk, and Leo took the outer panels home with him to stain them, to be sure I wouldn't screw them up.  Instead of a straight 'gable' roof, this Hilton of a shed has a 'gambrel' roof, with two different pitches.  It only costs a little more to go first class!

It wasn't just home repairs Leo helped with.  When he found out that I was still climbing on our second-story roof to clean our gutters, he told me to "Knock it off," and began regularly coming by, with an extension ladder I could hardly lift by myself, and he would muscle it around all sides of our house by himself to get at the gutters.  Many was the time we'd come back from vacation and discover that he had been there  to clean the gutters.  One time my neighbor asked him what he was doing, and he went over and cleaned the neighbor's gutters!

Thanks for the memories, buddy.  You would have slugged me for sure if I had ever said this to your face, but I love you.


School 19 1950 Graduating Class photo


The photo includes TZT brothers.
In the order that they appear:
Bottom Row:
Bill Hardy, Ange Coniglio, Dale Evingham
Second Row: Leo Howard
, Art Macluskie, Chuck Raccuia
Top Row: Tom Tirone
, Bill Tufillaro, Sal LaChina, Frank Briandi





1979 in Buffalo


2002 in Vegas


2003 at the LHS 100th in Buffalo


2010 at Chuck and Janelle Polito's 50th Wedding Anniversary


2014 at Crystal Beach


2017 at the Kenmore Village Restaurant


Rest in Peace, Leo.


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