Howard (Howie) Franklin Schiller, 95, of Cleveland, passed away Jan. 9, 2021.
Born Jan. 14, 1926, in New York City, Howard served in the U.S. Army from 1944 to 1945. He later graduated from St. John’s University in 1948 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting.
Following graduation, Howie worked at Finlay Fine Jewelry from 1948 to 1991 when he retired, though he stayed on in various capacities through 2008 – marking 60 years with the same company. He began there as an accounting trainee under the GI Bill. Over time, he became the comptroller and eventually became a vice president and general manager of the main office.
A member of Temple B’nai Israel in Elmont, N.Y., for 66 years, Howie loved golf and photography. For almost 30 years, Howie and his wife, Bobby, enjoyed the nine-week summer season in Chautauqua Institution where they became woven into the fabric of the community. In Chautauqua, Howie developed his hobby of informally photographing children of all ages, with many pictures ending up on family holiday cards. He assembled bulletin boards of photos each week, which he displayed outside the Café in Bestor Plaza. Kids took delight in finding their picture there and they loved “Uncle Howie,” who had a most uncanny way of capturing, in a photo, the essence of each child.
Howie’s chesed (loving kindness), generosity, playfulness, joke telling and bright affirming spirit was felt by all who knew him. He was much beloved by many, having built a life of enduring, abiding relationships and community. He brought laughter and smiles wherever he went. Every person he touched felt valued, acknowledged and appreciated. Everyone mattered. He had a list of over 200 family and friends that he called on a regular basis, something he continued to do until the last few weeks of his life. His signature line at the end of every call was “only the best” or “only good things for you.” According to Howie, the way to have a happy, meaningful life was by reaching out to others.
Howie is survived by his wife of 74 years, Barbara (Bobby) Schiller; children, Richard (Judy) Schiller of Cleveland and Laurie (Mark) Thomas of Cleveland; grandchildren, Leah (Drew) Molinari, Jordan Thomas, Amy Schiller and Sam Schiller (Rebecca Stevens); and great-grandchild, Theo Schiller. He was predeceased by his parents, Beatrice and George Schiller; and brother, Henry Schiller.
A private memorial service was held Jan. 14.
Contributions in memory of Howie can be made to the Howie and Bobby Schiller Fund c/o the Chautauqua Institution, P.O. Box 28, Chautauqua, NY, 14722 (bit.ly/39tnFm2), or a charity of your choice.