My Gentle Red-Haired Howard Dies of Cancer

My husband Howard died in 2003. He passed away quickly. He was diagnosed in June of 2003 and died in August. It was cancer of the esophagus. It’s better for him. He was going to suffer too much. The cancer had grown to the size of a fist.

At first we had some hope that radiation and chemotherapy would help him live a few years, but it was not to be.

It was tough and I miss him a lot. At the same time I know he is better off. He would not have enjoyed life with tumors everywhere.

The last two months of his life I felt I had to prepare food for him specially; mash things up and try to increase his calorie intake. The cancer was eating him up. He always thanked me for the meals. He was a very nice guy.

My children and my friends have been very supportive. My friends here are also Howard’s friends. In southern California Howard had worked for general telephone company and he rose into management. He retired from that in 1988.

When he came to Santa Cruz he applied at the public library and got a part-time job. He also applied at adult school in got another part-time job. He liked to be a clerk at the adult school. For years he helped teachers and students with registration and questions. They called him “a man of many hats.”

If the teacher walked in and said: “Howard I don’t have paper clips I need paper clips,” he would dig into his pocket and come up with a handful of paper clips. He had rubber bands in another pocket; pens and pencils in another pocket…

Plus he always had an even the calm nature. When teachers complained about the amount of paperwork required by the administration Howard would calm them down and say: “don’t worry, it’s just another fad.”