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Gregory Leo Howe

September 29, 2019 | 18 comments

As the checkered flag waved, Gregory Leo Howe, age 68, of Arcadia and Holmen, crossed the finish line on September 26, 2019.

Greg’s race began on September 8, 1951 as the 6th son to Team Howe (Wallace and Esther) in Iowa. Other team members were his siblings Robert, LaVerne (Norma), Duane (Jane), Eugene (JoLeen), Ken, Vince (Sharon), Larry (Patty) and Eileen (Steve) Wander.

Stage 1 of Greg’s race began on June 5, 1970 when he raised his hand for Team USA to help the war efforts in Vietnam despite the draft. Greg spent 1971 in Vietnam as a proud member of the 101st Airborne where he delivered ammunition and some bootlegged beer to fire bases, driving a “deuce and a half” (2½ ton truck). Greg was awarded the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal with two Bronze Stars, and the Army Commendation Medal. Greg was honorably discharged on March 3, 1972.

Stage 2 of Greg’s Race began on May 4, 1974 when he married the most beautiful bride, Merry Halverson, at the Tamarack Lutheran Church in Arcadia. Merry has been Greg’s number one Crew Chief since. Red flags were waved when his children, Maren Peterson (Mike) and Brady (Mindy) joined Greg’s Crew, but this didn’t slow him down for long! More recent red flags were waved when Greg was awarded the title of Papa when his grandchildren joined his Crew. Greg loved his grandchildren Walter (Peterson) and Ruth (Peterson) more than he would have loved winning a NASCAR Cup.

The race continued with his love of NASCAR, demolition derbies, puttering on the farm, deer hunting, fishing and making everyone and anyone laugh. Greg was part of Team United Auto Supply for 35 years and was very proud of accomplishments he made in his career. Greg started as a delivery driver, moved into managing the Onalaska store and eventually became their top salesman. Above all was Greg’s willingness to help others by being selfless whether the ask was big or small. Greg was always the Team Driver for his family, friends, children’s friends, friends of friends, coworkers and neighbors. Everyone knew they could count on Greg for every kind of help imaginable, to visit and to be there if they needed any support.

An impromptu qualifying mid-race time trial occurred in 2011 when Greg was diagnosed with vocal cord cancer; he came in first place in the time trial and the race continued. A white flag was waved in 2013 when Greg was diagnosed with Frontal Temporal Dementia (FTD); although symptoms were present for a while, proper diagnosis of this cruel and devastating disease is often slow.

During the final stage of the race, Greg’s wife and children were fierce advocates to educate his caregivers to provide the best care for Greg and made sure that Greg was able to live the best life that he could. When the checkered flag waved, Greg was surrounded by his wife and children at his home track.

Greg’s surviving Crew (Merry, Brady, Mindy, Maren, Mike, Walter and Ruth) would like to express sincere appreciation to the River Valley VA in La Crosse, the RCC Crew at Bluffview Memory Care, and the teams from Gunderson Lutheran Healthcare and Heartland Hospice who worked efficiently and seamlessly to get Greg home before the checkered flag waved. Most of all, they would like to thank everyone who learned about FTD and continued to be supportive of Greg throughout his FTD journey.

We invite Greg’s family and friends to celebrate Greg’s life in Victory Lane. Visitation will be from 2-4pm  at The Gathering Place in Onalaska on Saturday, October 5, 2019. A service and military send off will immediately follow visitation. Greg’s Crew requests the team uniform be casual (NASCAR apparel is welcome).

In lieu of flowers, Greg’s Crew requests donations be made in honor of Greg to The Freedom Honor Flight at FreedomHonorFlight.org or at P.O. Box 505, La Crosse, WI 54602 or to a philanthropy of choice.

To view Greg’s memorial video, copy and paste the link below into your web browser.




  1. Tommi

    Greg what can I say, we are truly going to miss you here at Bluffview. Us RCCs are not going to have anyone to keep us on track for med passes anymore. I wont have my number 1 man to give me a sincere hug the way that you could, you were the perfect man in so many ways and your family was so blessed to have you. Merry, Brady, and Marnie my prayers go out to all of you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for allowing me to be part of this wonderful mans life.

    • Merry Howe

      Thank you for meeting Greg where he was in him dimentia journey and not shaming him or making him feel bad. You “got” him and accept him. He always felt comfortable when you were working. We are thankful for that. Keep it up and keep on advocating for the residents. They need someone on their side.

  2. Ken

    Greg was often my partner in crime, he used to tow my race car to north Lacrosse speedway and one evening told me he had to leave early for a hot date , i.m assuming with Merry, forcing me to drive my race car to Galesville was no problem try that now days,he was always good for a laugh , he had a good life with a great family , RIP Greg

    • Merry Howe

      Thanks for sharing.

  3. Randy Soller

    Greg Howe, one of the very few men I can truly say had an impact on my life whether he knew it or not. Always a kind positive word even when the hustle and bustle of business, and life in general, was at a challenging point in time. Greg always took the time to listen, even if it put him behind schedule on his daily route. I can honestly say we had turned our business relationship into a personal friendship. Rest in peace my friend, you will be missed by many.

    • Merry Howe

      Thank you for sharing.

  4. deborah Koenig

    we sure had fun coaching our sons in baseball. Sorry for your loss. Such a nice guy.

    • Merry Howe

      Yes we did!

  5. shiree verkler

    God bless your family for sharing your great story , your husband , father, etc is now in heaven in God’s arm’s enjoying racing daily , Greg had a great life with all of you full of love , now love with our Father in Heaven with no more pain, amen

  6. Heidi Davidson Lockington

    Our deepest sympathies to the entire Howe family. You are in our thoughts.
    The Davidson Family.

  7. Marion Naegle

    While visiting my mom at Bluffview Memory Care I spent a lot of time talking with Greg. He was a wonderful caring person. My mom passed away in January but I often thought about Greg hoping things were going well for him. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. May he rest in peace.

  8. Jackie Burke

    Greg was in my class at Smith School (country school) and we carpooled with his family to Saturday catechism in Galesville. When you go to a one room country school, everyone becomes “family”.

    I’m sorry for your loss.

  9. Lyn Sheffer

    I just found out last night we lost our dear Greg. I will miss visiting with both of you at Bluffview…both of you were so caring to my mom…I know she will miss her dinner mate. He was a wonderful caring man and loved by all who met him. We were blessed to know both of you. Merry and family…may your cherished memories bring you moments of comfort and peace.

    • Merry Howe

      He worried about all his Bluff view family. Thank you for the memory.

    • Merry Howe

      We love your mom. Thank you for including Greg in your visits. He was so lonesome there.

  10. Star moen

    Greg, I wish I could have one last conversation with you😭❤️ You made me laugh so much everyday that I worked at bluffview! You were a ray of sunshine in my life and I will forever miss you❤️ Merry I wish the best to you and the rest of the family!! I’ll never forget you Greg😭❤️

  11. Paulette Johnson

    Sorry for your loss, both Greg and you Merry were good neighbors to my mom and dad (Orville and Anna Johnson) …

  12. Laurinda

    One of the most beautiful services I have been to. You guys did a great job. Take care. Laurinda Beirne

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