Ernest Roy Howe, 97, of Billings, retired grounds superintendent at MetraPark, died Saturday, May 26, 2012.
Born Aug. 22, 1914, in Shell, Wyo., the son of Eddie Claude and Josephine (Milward) Howe, he was one of eight children. He was raised on Beaver Creek and attended school at lower Beaver School, located on the family ranch.
On April 2, 1938, he married Shirley Campbell in Red Lodge. They farmed in the Deaver, Wyo., area.
He worked for the Deaver Irrigation District and on the Japanese relocation center at Heart Mountain, Wyo. He also had worked for the Wyoming Highway Department and was a government packer for the Yellowstone Park Service, handling a string of 10 mules. And he had worked for Weaver construction and the sugar company in Lovell, Wyo.
For a number of years he had a country-western band called the Wyoming Wranglers that was well known in the Deaver and Powell, Wyo., area. He played the fiddle.
He and his wife divorced in 1964, and he moved to Billings. On March 5, 1965, he married Julia E. Johnson in Sheridan, Wyo.
He worked as grounds superintendent for Yellowstone Exhibition (now MetraPark) from 1965 to March 1977. He became known for the flowers, especially petunias and sweet peas, on the grounds and at his residence on the fairgrounds midway. After retiring he returned several summers, assisting on various projects on the grounds, especially flowers.
He was baptized at 89 years old in the Sea of Cortes, San Felipe, Baja Mexico, while visiting his daughter. He was a member of the Elks Lodge, AARP and the Public Employees Retirement System.
He died at Aspen Meadows nursing home, where he had been a resident for four years.
Survivors include his wife; two daughters, Janeen Sefren of Apache Junction, Ariz., and Saundra Martin of San Felipe, Baja Mexico; a son, Eddie Sam of Gillette, Wyo.; eight grandchildren; and 13 great-grandchildren.
Services were pending. Arrangements were by Cremation & Funeral Gallery.
Memorials may be made to the Yellowstone Valley Animal Shelter, 1735 Monad Road, Billings MT 59102.