Lisa Anne Howard, mother, sister, friend and lover of life sadly departed this world after a courageous battle with cancer on May 18, 2020. Never one to wait, Lisa’s soul quickly took on a new form as a hummingbird, visiting her daughter the very next morning in California. Her love and life partner, Joe, is wishing the weather will turn a little nicer in Wisconsin for Lisa to visit him soon.
Born August 16, 1961, to the late Edward Howard and Rita Oestreich (Graves), Lisa was the epitome of a spirited and exuberant sister, full of childhood mischief and memorable antics spent with her surviving siblings, Lorie (John) Warren, Lynn (Lisa) Howard, and Beth (Mark) Heckendorf.
She raised one daughter, Ashley Irene, who she boasted about any time she could to every person who was willing to listen. (Her daughter apologizes to all of you). She spoiled her three grand-dogs endlessly with treats and toys and enjoyed teasing her son-in-law Nathan, gifting him a ridiculous snow globe each Christmas. Lisa had three beloved nieces, Leslie, Emily, and Megan and is so proud of the young women they have become.
Always with a smile and a shoulder for others, Lisa made life-long friends wherever she went, from coast to coast. She loved greatly, was generous to a fault, and spent countless hours speeding down back roads singing country music at the top of her lungs to visit family and friends with or without a reason to gather.
She loved being the loudest cheerleader for the Hometown Team (Go Pack Go!), watching her daughter or nieces’ play sports, browsing any antique store along the roads less traveled, and stopping to enjoy the delights of every small-town cafe or diner.
An excellent home cook, most considered her a “foodie” long before that became a pop culture reference. Rarely could you find her without a fridge full of food or the latest cooking gadget. The local Williams-Sonoma store will miss her (and her credit card) greatly. Lisa never quite learned how to cook a meal for less than a dozen people, which worked in her favor as she frequently welcomed friends and family with an open door and heart.
Most of those friends knew Lisa as “Liza”, a 30+ year non-legal spontaneous name change that occurred when working a busy Saturday shift for Mills Fleet Farm. Coining herself a “Fleeter” with one of those questionable AOL email addresses her daughter could never quite convince her to change, she spent her entire career working for the Midwest retailer. She started at the service center at the Wausau store, eventually moving to the big time, taking a position in Inventory Control at the retailer’s headquarters in Appleton, WI. Over her storied career she held many positions, eventually taking the reins as the Fuel Buyer for all of the company’s gas stations. She loved working with her “boys” and while her family had to frequently wrestle her cell phones away from her before dinner, we recognized how important the job was to her.
Her 5:00 AM phone calls, colorful vocabulary, and infectious laugh will be missed greatly. As will the hundreds of hand-written cards she mailed each year (USPS is declaring an itemized loss). She always knew just what to say and sent the most thoughtful gifts - birthdays, holidays, and any ol’ Tuesday will never be the same.
Lisa left behind three dressers, two closets, and one jewelry box filled with fashionable treasures for her daughter to donate. Macy’s and Kohl’s regret that the bulk of the kitchen items cannot be returned for credit, no matter how gently used. A farm girl at heart, Lisa was an avid gardener, a trait she passed on to her daughter who is claiming all of her garden tools.
Most of all she loved her family and instilled in her daughter important life values. Lisa will be dearly missed and forever in our hearts.
Her last wishes were to remind the world to be kind to one another. Let your smile reach your eyes, your warmth radiate, and don’t be afraid to cry. To bake, sing, and love more (not necessarily in that order). To call or text one more time, even if it’s an off hour. To always say “please” and “thank you” and “I love you.” Chase your dreams, dare to be seen, and live life as if there is no tomorrow.
Until we meet again.
Joe, Ashley, and Nathan, along with Lisa’s family, are planning to celebrate her life with “one heck of a party” on her birthday, August 16, 2020, so long as it’s safe to gather in crowds and each guest promises not to “sad, ugly cry” - Lisa’s words, not ours. Everyone has a Liza story and we'd love to hear them all. Guests are asked to wear black with a pop of color or floral accessories, just as Lisa preferred to dress.
In lieu of flowers, gifts may be made in her honor to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute with whom she credits giving her a decade of life to keep living while she battled cancer:
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
P.O. Box 849168
Boston, MA 02284