Charles O. Howe (1913-1987)
Written By Donald Howe
November 7, 1998
Based on personal interviews with Mrs. Dorothy Howe (wife), Son's and Daughter and family relatives whose memories are included here in.
Charles's life began on a somber note. His grandfather Orville Howe dying at practically the same time he came into the world. It was a Monday morning around 10:30 when his grandfather was crushed between two trolley cars, an act of courtesy costing him his life. This accident made headline news. It was featured on the front page of the March 14, Friday edition of the Cuyahoga Falls Reporter and several other newspapers of the time.
Charles was born in Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio on Monday March 10, 1913 to Minor and Minnie Howe.
Charles (Dad) was born at home. Both Minor and Minnie were well known in Cuyahoga Falls and
Akron society circles. They lived at 329 Stow Street. The family consisted of a daughter Ruth
and a son Ralph and of course Charles. Tragedy struck the family when Charles was about 2
years old. His mother Minnie (White) Howe died at Peoples Hospital in Akron, Ohio following an operation.
In an interview with Mrs. Dorothy Howe (Mom), Minnie was pregnant in the "tubes", and after having fallen
down a flight of stairs was rushed to People's Hospital. The hospital had a poor reputation in those days and
was sometimes referred to as the "Butcher Shop". According to Mrs. Howe, no one wanted to go to this hospital
so feared was its reputation. The hospital changed names over the years and so has its reputation. It is now
one of the best medical facilities in town.
According to Mrs.Howe, Mrs.Thompson who lived next door to Charles sister Ruth in Cuyahoga Falls took care
of him after his mother died. When Charles was about ten years old his father married Alice Squires. Minor
Howe and Alice Squires had no children of their own. Alice however, had three daughters and a brother George.
As Charles was growing up he would deliver papers for the Akron Times Press and sold magazines on the
corner of Front Street in the Falls. He sold every kind of magazines there was. Charles would stand on
the street corner and call out aloud that he had newspapers and magazines for sale. This is how he put
himself through school and how he paid for his clothing, bedding and any schoolbooks he needed. His new
stepmother Alice virtually did nothing to help Charles while he was growing up. He basically had to
support himself and take care of any personal needs.
Mrs. Howe recalls that when Charles was about 12 or 13 he would often go to his sister's home for the
holidays especially around Christmas time. Mrs. Howe says Charles never had much of a Christmas with his
father. They never had a tree or decorations and such.
Charles attended Broad Street School for his 8 grades and graduated from Cuyahoga Falls
Friday May 22, 1931. His graduating class was the largest class in the schools history. Of particular
interest, according to the news article documenting this event, one hundred and four students graduated
from Falls High that year. Rev. W.E.M Copeland, of the United Presbyterian Church, delivered the
baccalaureate sermon Sunday afternoon May 17, in the high school auditorium. The class motto:
Overcome Obstacles, Make Them Stepping Stones. The class flower: Yellow Tea Rose and the class
colors: Blue and Tangerine.
When Charles was young man he was into exercising and bodybuilding. He was a boxer during this time and
went by the name "Kid K-O"; he would often box at the Firestone Club. He also had other nicknames such
as "Sammy" or "Red". Charles had red hair hence the nickname "Red". It was not uncommon for him to run
from 329 Stow Street, Cuyahoga Falls where he lived to Monroe Falls to go swimming. Mrs. Howe recalls
that someday's Charles along with his sister Ruth and his brother Ralph would all go on a horse and
buggy ride to his Uncle Charlie's farm in Richfield, Ohio. It was about a half days journey just to get
there and the rest of the day just to get back. One day Charles ran the entire distance to the farm when
his Uncle Charlie sent for him. His Uncle was not in the best of health and called Charles to the farm.
It was here that Charles was given the Family Tree. I really think Dad was hoping he would get the farm.
When Charles was about 18-19 he went to the 3-C's camp.
Mrs. Howe says he also belonged to an organization known as the "Blue Shirts". They would go about helping
anyone in need to find a home or a place to stay.
During Charles life there would be many people besides his wife who would play an important role in
his life. One of these was Margaret (Grandma) France, then Margaret Poelking. Margaret came to know
Charles when he was still a baby. Margaret grew up in the orphanage because her own mother had past
way and her father was unable to care for her or her sisters and brothers.
One day Margaret's foster mother Mrs. Wensoleski who lived on 4th Street or near 4th Street went
to see Charles's mother Minnie Howe. They were good neighbors Mrs. Howe says. Margaret was then about
13 or 14 and became quite enamored with Charles's mother Minnie Howe. Minnie held a strong resemblance
to Margaret's real mother. Margaret would often help take care of Charles when he was baby. During that
time Margaret and Charles's sister Ruth also went to school together. Needless to say Margaret and Ruth
became good friends but that's another story.
One summer Mrs. Howe went to Charles's sisters home, now Ruth Grant for a week's vacation, which is
where she met Charles for the first time. Mrs. Howe was only about 14 then and became acquainted with
Charles but did not officially date until she was about 17. On many occasions Charles would come to
visit Margaret who had by then married Roland France. He would visit sometimes after being down at
the welfare office. Charles would walk along the streetcar lines up to the Old House. During one of
those visits Charles asked for Margaret and Roland France's permission, as was the proper way in
those days, to date their daughter Dorothy.
Dorothy and Charles would mostly go for walks when they were dating. Sometimes they would walk
through Oak Wood
Cemetery. Not suprisingly, all of Charles ancestors who came to Ohio are buried in the same cemetery.
Once for a church picnic in 1936 they went swimming at Rex Lake with Dorothy's sister Eileen France
and a neighbor Lester Harlon. Lester Harlon was a good neighbor who lived up from the Old House. If
Charles had enough money they would go to a picture show. Today we call them movies. They would either
go to Lowes Theater, which is now the Civic Theater downtown, or they would go to the Strand Theater or
the Colonial Theater. The first movie Dorothy saw with Charles was "Rosemarie". It stared Nelson Eddy
and Jeanette McDonald. Dorothy and Charles dated for about a year and a half.
Before Charles asked Dorothy to marry him, he asked Margaret and Roland France for their permission.
Oddly enough Margaret France, who had practically raised Charles was initially opposed to the marriage
because Charles was non-Catholic. The details of that family discussion were summed up when Dorothy
reminded her mother that she too had married a man who wasn't Catholic. Sometime, during March of 1937,
Charles asked Dorothy to marry him. They went to Fertells Jewelry Store to buy Dorothy's rings. Fertells
was located on Main Street and as Dorothy recalls they would later move to Exchange Street or Market Street.
Dorothy and Charles were married on April 17, 1937. Father Petros conducted the ceremony in St. Martha's
Rectory. They were married in the rectory because Charles was non-Catholic and you were not permitted to
marry in the church unless you were both Catholic. Dorothy's sister Eileen and brother Ronnie stood up
for them. After they were married Dorothy and Charles spent a couple of weeks living with her mother and
father Margaret and Roland France and then about the same amount of time living with Charles's sister
Ruth Grant. Finally they got an apartment on Dayton Street in Akron, Ohio. There were two rooms and it
was furnished. Dorothy and Charles lived here for awhile until they moved to Burwinds Street and rented
an apartment there and that's were brother Dave was born.
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