Affectionately known as “Bugs,” Buggy” and “Uncle Bugs,” Gary Lee Howell passed away at 2:40 a.m. on Aug. 30, 2013, at Stone Bridge Senior Living Center in Benton, with family members by his side.
Mr. Howell was born July 6, 1946, in Herrin Hospital to Irene (Stomberski) and Dale Howell. Mr. Howell grew up in Freeman Spur and graduated from Herrin High School in 1964. From 1966 to 1969, Mr. Howell served in the United States Navy. Mr. Howell worked as a top laborer at Old Ben Mine No. 21 from 1970 to 1991 and at the Zeigler NO.11 Mine in Coulterville from 1994 to 1997. Mr. Howell was a member of UMWA Local 1124. Mr. Howell also drove for Star Trucking and Dorris Trucking until 2006.
Mr. Howell married Linda Geraldine (Muir) VanZandt on Aug. 22, 1970, in Freeman Spur, and she survives in Sesser, along with great-niece, Cassyln Pedigo who lives with Gary and Linda. Mr. Howell is also survived by son, Jamey VanZandt of Mt. Vernon; mother, Irene Howell of Marion; uncle, Harry Stomberski and wife Delores of Herrin; brother, Randy Howell and wife Marian of Herrin; and sister, Cathy Thomas and husband Joel of Lake of Egypt. Mr. Howell is also survived by a beloved sister-in-law, Mary Ann Baker of Morris, Ala.; brothers-in-law, Billy Muir and wife Roberta of Nashville and Jim Muir and wife Lisa Kay of Sesser; nieces and nephews, including Brigadier General H. Brent Baker and wife Roblye of Hill Air Force Base, Utah, Bruce Baker of Morris, Ala., Lyndsay Muir and fiance Ryan Lampert of Trenton, Mackenzie Broyles and husband Justin of Collinsville, Caleb Muir of Benton, Bailey Muir of Benton, Joey Burton of Chicago, Josh Burton and wife Lindsey of Carbondale, Heather Burkhalter and husband James of Marble Hill, Mo. and Patti Howell also of Marble Hill, Mo.; and several beloved great-nieces and great-nephews.
Mr. Howell was preceded in death by a brother, David Howell, and his father, Dale Howell.
Mr. Howell was a friend to all - he never met a stranger. He loved all of his family, his Harley-Davidson motorcycle, sharp cars and trucks, especially Chevrolets, music by Elvis and Sylvester Stallone and Rocky films. “Uncle Buggy” was a decent, humble and caring person to all, and was loved and admired beyond measure.
Visitation for Gary Lee Howell will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. on Sunday at Brayfield-Gilbert Funeral Home in Sesser. Funeral services will be conducted at 1 p.m. on Monday with Bro. Larry Cook officiating. Interment will follow at Maple Hill Cemetery in Sesser.