On Wednesday, March 3rd, 2021, Thomas Jude Howden, loving husband and father, passed away at the age of 81. Tom was born on May 5th, 1939, in Appleton, Wisconsin, to George Howden and Miriam (Mansur) Howden. He attended Roosevelt Elementary (K, 2, 3, 4, 5), Saint Mary’s Elementary (1, 6, 7, 8), and Saint Mary’s High School (9, 10, 11, 12). He attended St. John’s University in Collegeville, Minnesota and graduated from Stout State College in Menominee, Wisconsin where he studied industrial education.
Tom became a captain in the US Air Force at age 24 (1963-1966). He served in Merced, CA and went on to graduate school at California State University, Fresno. He met his future wife, Marilyn Pavlovich in Fresno. They were married in 1967, and they have spent the next 54 years together. They lovingly raised two children, Kathleen and Christopher.
Tom and Marilyn moved to San Jose in 1968 where Tom became a high school teacher. He would teach math and electronics for the next 27 years. He taught at Overfelt High School and then at Santa Teresa High School, in the East Side Union High School District. He constantly encouraged and mentored young people to become engineers and electricians.
Tom had a passion for education. He was among a group of teachers who believed strongly in the positive power of teaching. He knew that he was making a difference in the lives of students from a wide variety of backgrounds.
While teaching full-time, Tom took up a second career to support his family. He became an electrical contractor. Over time, he wired countless new homes, additions and remodels throughout the South Bay. Much of this work was done for his fellow teachers, who were buying houses of their own. Over the years, Tom also mentored many young electricians.
Tom loved doing electrical work. He loved getting his hands dirty, and working with sharp tools. He also loved that this job allowed him to travel around and visit with countless people. He loved to talk to all different kinds of people, and to find out about their families. This was his main passion. He truly appreciated communicating with, and connecting with, other human beings. He was known as an extraordinarily friendly, kind, generous person.
After retiring from teaching, Tom focused on his growing electrical business and his growing family. Kathleen married Casey Lawrence and they have two daughters, Mary and Clare. Chris married Edie Yau and they have a daughter, Olive, and a son, Leo. Tom loved his grandkids dearly and spent time with them whenever he could.
Tom’s electrical business, Howden Electric, continued to grow. He was able to add employees and they began installing rooftop solar electric systems. As time progressed, Tom struggled with heart disease, and then dementia. Howden Electric started to wind down as the work became more difficult for him.
Tom and Marilyn joined many social and civic organizations: They enjoyed the Kiwanis, The Saint Frances Cabrini Men’s Club, The Knights of Columbus and The Italian Catholic Federation, anything that involved talking to people and eating good food. Together, they travelled throughout the United States, Europe and the UK. They especially enjoyed the Pacific Northwest, the Sierra Mountains (where Tom loved to ski), and of course, his beloved state of Wisconsin. In the 1990’s, Tom enjoyed driving his boat around the Delta, and water skiing. Most of all, he loved his Green Bay Packers.
Tom always remained busy. He volunteered in his community by collecting groceries for food banks, helping with Bingo night at church, and selling christmas trees. He loved to ride his bicycle, and walk with his crazy dog, Bosco.
Tom was preceded in death by his father, George, his mother, Miriam, and his brother, Charles. He is survived by his wife, Marilyn, his children, Kathleen and Christopher, his brother, Michel, his sister, Mary, and his many nieces, nephews, and grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held on Friday, March 26th, 2021,
at St. Frances Cabrini Church in San Jose at 10:00 AM.
Please review protocols.
Live streaming is available by following this link and directions.
Use PIN #: 404-670
A later, recorded video will be available here as well.
Flowers or donations may be sent to the family home.
Donations can also be made, in memory of Tom Howden, to the following charities:
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Thomas Howden, please visit our floral store.