Obituary: John Francis Howley, 1960-2022 | Seven Days Vermont

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Obituary: John Francis Howley, 1960-2022 

Musician and librarian loved movies, games, driving and photography

Published May 9, 2022 at 6:05 a.m. | Updated May 9, 2022 at 12:28 p.m.

click to enlarge John Howley - COURTESY
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  • John Howley

John Francis Howley, 61, of Burlington, Vt., died suddenly on May 6, 2022, from a heart attack. His sister Suellen Howley was with him at his passing, holding his hand.

Born in Burlington on September 30, 1960, the son of James and Jacquelyn Howley, he grew up playing the drumsticks on his parents’ couch and was a self-taught professional rock and roll musician, playing keyboards in bands throughout his life. He composed music and was in an original band, Little Sister. He would perform concerts for his family of “A Charlie Brown Christmas” music and jazz, which were his favorites.  

He attended Marlboro College in Marlboro, Vt., where he received his bachelor of arts. It was there that he met Michon Davies, whom he later married. He moved to Flagstaff, Ariz., where he worked at the public library. From there, he went to Tucson, where he received his master’s degree of library sciences from the University of Arizona, and he worked at the Tucson Public Library, enjoying the staff bowling and dodgeball nights. John often organized poker nights for the library staff and played the piano for various library events.

His beloved dogs, Monk and Willow, would move with him to Longmont, Colo., where he would finish his career at the Longmont Public Library. Later, returning to Burlington, Vt., he volunteered at the Fletcher Free Library in retirement and played keyboards during Friday afternoon jams. He also enjoyed his film noir movies and Facebook. John was an avid chess player, and his love of games began in childhood. He had a running rummy card game with his grandmother for years, during which they kept tight score. His most recent favorite games included Wordle and Pass the Pigs, and he enjoyed watching “Jeopardy!” with his cousins Phil and Julie.  

You could count on him to drive you anywhere, as he loved driving and would enjoy DoorDashing at night since he was a night owl, finishing up the evenings with his cocoa and peanut butter toast. He was creative, loving, kind and funny, with an amazing intellect. He enjoyed photography, and his family loved watching his slideshows. He was loved by so many people; he never knew the impact he had on his friends and family. 

John is survived by his sisters Suellen Howley, Johanna Page and Annie Pernicka; his nieces and nephews and their spouses and children: Laura Howley and Brandon Peterson, Liam and Kim Page and their children, Calvin and Elliot, Michaela Page and Justin Schreiber and their children, Emerson and Maeve, and Devon and Ian Davis. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Kay Howley; many cousins; the extended Howley, Abair and Quinn families; and countless friends. John was predeceased by his parents; brothers Nicholas and Flip Howley; brother-in-law Michael Page; and nephew Gavin Howley. 

A celebration of John’s life will be held at Ready Funeral Home, South Chapel, 261 Shelburne Rd., Burlington, on Thursday, May 12, 2022, 5 to 7 p.m., followed by a brief memorial service beginning at 7 p.m. Because John loved words and storytelling, please bring something to share during this service: a quote, a prayer, a poem, a song — anything that resonates with you about John. Donations in John’s memory may be made to Green Mountain Pug Rescue to the attention of Phil Douglas, 283 Town Line Rd., Mendon, VT 05701.

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