Harold Howe, Jr., 86

Fri, 05/20/2016 - 7:45am

Harold Howe Jr. of South  Kent, Conn., died in the early morning hours of May 11, 2016. Harold was born on March 17, 1930 in Stamford, Conn., earning him the life-long nickname of “Pat.” Pat spent his earliest years in southwest Connecticut with his parents, Harold Howe and Catherine Toby Howe, and his sister, Pamela H. Kempe. Pat graduated from Hotchkiss in 1948 and went on to Yale University.

At Yale, he majored in English and history. He honed his yodeling and spoon-playing skills and excelled at hockey, which he played for four years. In 1952, he was a key member of Yale’s first team in history to make it to the NCAA Frozen Four. He continued to play hockey well into his sixties. In 1978, at a Salute to Yale Hockey, long-time coach Murray Murdoch selected Pat as one of the forwards on his “Dream Squad.”

Following his graduation from Yale in 1952, Pat served as a lieutenant in the Marine Corps, stationed in Japan.

In 1957, Pat married his partner for life, Shirley Buffinton, with whom he raised five children, travelled the world, and supported many charitable organizations. He was a passionate advocate for the well-being of children, appropriate economic development, renewable energy, and nature conservancy. He served on the boards of Save the Children, Technoserve, Friends of Norwalk Community College and the Committee for the Great Salt Pond, among many others.

Pat’s working life was spent building the furniture company his father started in 1928 as Howe Folding Furniture. When he sold the company in 1998, it was an international enterprise that was well respected for quality and forward-thinking design in the world of commercial furniture.

Upon retirement, Pat split his time between South Kent, Conn., and Block Island, R.I., where he was well-loved for his generous spirit, ageless playfulness, and engaging storytelling. He is survived by his wife, sister, four sons, a daughter, three daughters-in-law, a son-in-law and 13 grandchildren. He will be sorely missed.                 

A memorial service will be held at the First Congregational Church of Kent at 2 p.m. on May 21, 2016. In lieu of flowers contributions may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation.