May 24, 1932 – August 15, 2019
Howard’s parents were Bernard Joseph Gerwing, stepmother Mary, and mother, Erna Merke. His son Nicholas tragically predeceased him years ago. Also predeceased by his brother Billy, and his brother Danny (shockingly just hours before Howard). Howard’s beautiful and loving wife, Marina Gerwing passed away two years ago, whom he will be ecstatic to see again. He is survived by his brother Johnny (Gail), his children Benjamin (Debra), Katherine (Ian), and Elizabeth (Lance). Also survived by his grandchildren Alex, Graham, Emma, Jane and Samantha.
Howard was an amazing man. He was a scholar, a rare books librarian and specialist, a bookstore proprietor, a rugby coach and founder of many rugby programs at UVIC. Most importantly he was a husband, a father, an uncle, a mentor, a leader and a friend.
Through many messages from loved ones and acquaintances he has been described as a teacher, patient, kind, even a gentleman. They described him as generous, insightful and hilarious. Sometimes he was a scoundrel, sometimes he chose to challenge people, and sometimes he would just watch and listen, then guide people to greatness. He didn’t intend to be a leader, but he couldn’t help himself, as he saw such potential in people and our community and had to help to make things better, smarter and kinder.
Howard would be found on the side-lines of rugby games here in Cowichan, or in earlier years, at Uvic or Velox-Valhallians. He read as many books as any one person could, as he often said, so many books and so little time. He walked his dogs, and even his goats. Sometimes he would just stare out at the beautiful world because he so appreciated it. He lived life to the fullest; appreciating every meal, family and friends being together, strong conversations and debates, literature and art. He tried to see and feel the beauty around him, to appreciate it, then to teach others to do the same.
In the end, his biggest concern was for the happiness of his children, grandchildren, and close friends. He probably knew his time was ending soon, so he would look into the eyes of his loved ones and would say “are you happy?” with a curious gaze, then he would relax when the reply was “yes”. We are happy, sad to go on without you Dad, but yes, we are happy. Thank you for teaching us how to be.
In lieu of flowers, we would be honoured if you carried on Howard’s legacy by donating to his bursary in his name at UVIC. The link is as follows:
There will be a celebration of Howard’s life at Mellor Hall on Sunday Sept. 29, 2019 at 2 pm.
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