Melvin E. (Gene) Howard, 83, of New Boston, Illinois, died Monday, July 23, at his home.

Melvin E. (Gene) Howard, 83, of New Boston, Illinois, died Monday, July 23, at his home. Funeral service were held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, July 27, 2012, at the Ralph J. Wittich-Riley-Freers Funeral Home. Gene was laid to rest in Drury-Reynolds Cemetery. Reverend Beth Nelson of the Eliza Community Church officiated.Visitation was held from 4 to 7 p.m. on Thursday, July 26, 2012, at the funeral home with Masonic Rites.

Online condolences: Memorials may be made to Heartland Hospice, Eliza Lions Club, or the Eliza Community Church.

Pallbearers were Mike Newsom, Brian Newsom, Jeff Howard, Chad Freberg, William Swift and Matthew Swift. A time of food and fellowship was held at the Eliza Community Center after the service and committal.
Melvin was born on Aug. 12, 1928, in Drury Township, Rock Island County, the son of Leonard L. and Frances M. Faler Howard.

He was a lifelong farmer in Mercer and Rock Island counties. He was a member of the Eliza Community Church, Eliza Lions Club, and the Buffalo Prairie Masonic Lodge #679, where he was a Past Master.

Those left to honor his memory include his wife Marian Howard of New Boston; a daughter Kathy Jenkins of Illinois City; a son Steven Howard and wife Barbara of Illinois City and a daughter Diane Swift of Aledo; nine grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; one brother Charles Howard and wife Dianna of Illinois City and one sister.

Gene was preceded in death by his parents, one daughter Debra Howard, one son-in-law Jonathan Swift, one grandson David Newsom, one great-grandson Andrew Newso and one brother.