Robert “Bob” Chester Howard, 68, of Smithboro, Illinois, formerly from Monticello, passed away in his home at 12:21 P.M. on Wednesday, February 1, 2017. He was born on April 14, 1948 in Urbana, the son of Joseph and Billie (Turner) Howard. On April 28, 1979 he married Karen Ann Blakeman at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Stonington, Illinois. Bob retired in 2011 after working more than 35 years as a proud union laborer for Local 703 in Champaign. He was a member of St. Theresa/Marydale Catholic Church in Carlyle. Bob was a man of love, a man of faith, and a man of many opinions. Bob was an avid sports fan. He loved the Dodgers, golfing and gardening. He graduated from Tolono Unity High School in 1966. Those who knew Bob knew that he touched many kids lives coaching T-ball, baseball, and JFL football. After his retirement he had a passion for his grandkids, gardening, and golfing. Bob so looked forward to traveling on Fridays and watching his 2 sons Robbi and Jon coach high school football games.

Bob is survived by his wife: Karen A. Howard of Smithboro; sons: Robert (Robbi) Blake Howard, wife Alissa, of Athens, Alan Joseph, wife Lindsay and granddaughter Blakely Ann of Springfield, and Jon Thomas, wife Alicia and grandsons Hutley Blake and Maverick Briar of Aviston; father-in-law: Leroy Blakeman of Decatur; sisters: Betty Howard of Urbana, Kay Howard and one brother: Tom Howard both of Pesotum, and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents and mother-in-law: Shirley Blakeman.

A memorial mass will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Monday, February 6, 2017 at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Stonington with Monsignor David Lantz officiating. Inurnment will be in the Old Stonington. Visitation will be from noon until 3:00 P.M. on Sunday at McClure Funeral Home in Taylorville and from 10:00 A.M. until the mass on Monday at the church in Stonington. Because of Bob’s love for children, memorials may be made to the St. Jude’s Research Hospital or the Shriner’s Hospital for Children. McClure Funeral Home and Cremation Services in Taylorville is assisting the family with arrangements. Memories of Bob, or condolences to the family, may be left online at

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