Dustin Ells Howes, formerly of Danville, peacefully "slipped the surly bonds of earth" on Saturday, January 21, 2017 in Chelsea, Mass. He was born Oct. 17, 1973, in Detroit, Mich., to Janet L. Howes and the late Robert W. Howes.
In his elementary years, he attended the Waldorf School in Indian Village, Detroit, where he learned to love being creative and sparked his love of thinking, reading and writing.
After his father's death, he and his mother moved to East Lansing where he attended Okemos Schools. In high school, he enjoyed participating in theater and music, especially the elite Someko Singers. He initiated the Martin Luther King Day Assembly at Okemos High School. At 1991 graduation, he delivered one of the commencement speeches. In 1987 to 1988, he and his mother hosted a German exchange student from Hamburg with Youth for Understanding. The families have remained friends through the years. Dustin loved attending annually the Unitarian-Universalist Spring Conference at The United Nations, inspiring his sense of oneness with the peoples of the world. He had the privilege of visiting other countries beginning at an early age and continued his curiosity and interest in different points of view.
Dustin attended Wayne State University his freshman year, then graduated from The University of Michigan in 1995 with an A.B. in Political Science and Communications. He was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa at The University of Michigan in 1995 (this is news to most of us!). While there, he wrote hip-hop reviews for The Michigan Daily. He expanded his appreciation for a wide variety of musical genres and artists and enthusiastically shared this with us all. The shabazzim loved his music the best!
Dustin went on to earn an A.M. in Social Sciences at The University of Chicago. Then striving to teach at the university level, Dustin achieved the Ph.D. at The University of North Carolina, 2005, in Political Science focusing on non-violence and resistance theory as an effective political tool. His father's conscientious objector status during the Vietnam War undoubtedly influenced his motivations. He particularly loved to challenge and engage underclass students in their political thought and action. For this, he received The University of North Carolina Department of Political Science John Patrick Hagen Award for Outstanding Teaching by a Graduate Student, Spring 2001; as well as The University of North Carolina Tanner Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, Spring 2002. Additionally, he was a member of the University of North Carolina Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars, Spring 2002.
Dr. Howes' professional career began as a visiting professor at The State University of New York, Oswego, Fall 2005 to Spring 2006. The next year followed at St. Mary's College of Maryland, Fall 2006 to Spring 2008. Fortunately, he obtained a tenure track position at Louisiana State University, Fall 2008 to present. While at LSU, Dr. Howes produced countless articles, book chapters, chaired presentations, was awarded grants, was primary speaker at seminars and most notably authored, "Toward a Credible Pacifism: Violence and the Possibilities of Politics," Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 2009; and most recently, "Freedom Without Violence: Resisting The Western Political Tradition," Oxford University Press, 2016. This is currently being translated into Arabic. In the Fall of 2014, at LSU, he was awarded the David J. Kriskovich Distinguished Professor of Political Science. We thank his colleagues and the university community at LSU for assisting him to utilize his gifts to the best of his ability while there.
While ALS ravaged his body, his spirit stayed strong and hopeful. He was fortunate to find the caring, compassionate and knowledgeable residence at The Leonard Florence Center for Living at the Jewish Nursing Home in Chelsea, Mass. He lived in Dapper MacDonald House with other special housemates who became family. Their world award-winning use of technology to foster independence and communication allowed Dustin to move about the facility and grounds, stay connected professionally and most importantly to stay in touch with his children. By using the eye-gaze technology, he created his most significant writings of memoirs, poems, songs, and bedtime stories for his beloved Maddie and Henry, as well as visiting them via Skype. He maintained contact with family and friends across the country and world. The Jewish Foundation helped sponsor and facilitate his last participation in a panel discussion on peace at Stanford University in June 2016.
Dustin was predeceased by his father, Robert W. Howes; his grandparents, Betty and Russell Howes and Freda and Garland Ells; and uncles, Randall Stoddart and Russell Howes. He is survived to treasure his memory by his children, Madeline Rose and Henry Lloyd Howes whom he adored, and the mother of his children, Dr. Rachel C. Hall. He is also survived by the children's grandparents, Charles (Kim) Hall and Sharon (William) Houpt; the children's maternal aunt, Sarah (Chris) Harpst; and maternal uncle, Dan Hall. Also to cherish his memory are his mother, Janet L. Howes, his half-brother, Brandon Howes (Erin McCrea) and niece, Abby; his German brother, Jan (Suzanne) Krummrey, Anton and Paul; step-mother, Marilyn Kelly; uncle, Randall Howes (Colleen) and cousins, Jason (Shannon Fisher) Howes and Corey (Anna) Howes; aunts, Sue Vincent Howes, Joann Ells Stoddart; numerous relatives of the Halfacre, Dayringer, and Howes extended families; and countless best friends.
The family is forever grateful that Dustin's last year was with our wonderful friends and family at The Leonard Florence Center for Living. Donations in Dustin's honor may be send to Chelsea Jewish Foundation, 165 Captains Row, Chelsea, MA, 02150. Or donations may be send to your state ALS Chapter. Dustin also requested donations in his memory be sent to your local ACLU Chapter or the Detroit Waldorf School, 2555 Burns, Detroit, MI 48214.
Memorial Services will be held Saturday, March 4, at Unitarian-Universalist Church of Greater Lansing, Mich. at 5509 S. Pennsylvania Ave., Lansing, MI 48911. Phone 517-351-4081. Visitation will begin at 10 a.m. prior to the service at 11 a.m. A buffet luncheon at the church will follow for all of those in attendance.
Published on February 24, 2017