I believe it was 2010 , when I was sorting thru my mother’s books and discovered the book, New Burlington, the life and death of an American village. Inside were clippings of the Collett-McKay reunions. I was intrigued enough to Google Howard Doster who wrote the article to see if he could tell me more about the Colletts. My mother was an only child and had been a Collett but we did not know much about the family. My mother had died in 1996 and I wanted some connection to the family I didn’t really know well. I found a phone number and called Howard and he could not have been nicer. As far as he was concerned , I was a long lost cousin . Since the reunion was some months away, I decided that my husband and I would drive from our home in Virginia to Ohio to meet my relatives. When we arrived in town on the Friday , Howard insisted we come to the farm and meet up. He then proceeded to direct us to every cemetery that held a Collett relative and told us all the details. It was amazing to learn all of the stories connected to our family. Howard, Barbara and Bob and I went out to dinner that evening and we had an amazing conversation. On the Sat, we sat with Howard’s family and met so many new faces. The weekend was a delight and the pleasure of meeting Howard and his family was beyond my expectations. I had come with a family tree in hand to prove my connection and came away with treasured friends. Several years later, I brought my daughter, Amanda Collett Corrie who was at the time working for the State Dept. It was magical for her to meet all the Colletts. My husband and I attended the 150th reunion and again Howard made us feel like family and we were invited back to there house for their family gathering. I have never met someone so full of life, so much joy, and a true zest for living. Howard is a true example of how we all should strive to live our lives. I will always remember the entire Doster family for giving me a slice of where I came from. We will miss Howard but will have the most wonderful memories of the reunions where we shared his company.
As we read through Howard’s many tributes one word stands out to us – passion! We were blessed to have met Howard through the Glaze family. In all the years of sporting and scout events, I don’t recall Howard every missing anything. His passion for his family and his passion for sports! He cheered on the whole team, not just his grandsons. Sometimes, his passion got the best of him, but that’s what made him, well, him! So blessed that we were able to cross paths with Howard while on this earth.
WhenHoward and I went to China one of the places we stayed was a five star hotel inChengdu and we shared the same room and I let Howard take the first shower in the morning and he did not want to get out because it used a rain drop shower head and he had never seen that before and told me he would have to look into getting one like that for back at his house because he loved it so much. I have never seen someone take so long taking a shower as then
I had the honor of being Howard’s OT on and off at his home the past 2 years. In my 23 years as a therapist, I never met anyone that loved life more than Howard. One of my favorite treatments was about 2 years ago, physical therapy Neil and I threw football to celebrate the Ohio State Buckeye Football season in his living room! His love for his wife, and life was something I have never seen before. Rest well my friend, as you sure have earned your spot as an angel watching over Barbara from heaven. I will miss you.
Howard was never shy nor did he lack words in promoting what he was convinced would be a good thing. A few years ago, Royce and Virginia Kinney hosted our AZ reunion in Belmont County. Howard took the floor to encourage us to pursue the opportunity to join Farmhouse fraternity (a good move). Somebody had brought a sturdy shepherd’s crook. After Barb’s entreaty to shut off the huge deluge of words did not stop him, I grabbed him around the neck with the crook and dragged him to his chair. He got the hint and we all had a hearty laugh! We remained and have always been good friends!
Howard Doster and his wife Barbara would graciously open up their home yearly for a Homeschool celebration (as their daughter Anne was a member of the Haven Homeschool group). As a homeschool mom, I dearly loved the history stories about the underground railroad which Howard was always willing to share with our kids. He would then give an interesting tour of their home, which was once a part of the underground railroad.
We saw Howard recently (last September) at the Harveysburg First Black School event. Not surprisingly, Howard was dressed in period attire, sharing enchanting details with young children about the humble beginnings of the school.
The last time I visited with Howard was at Quaker Heights. He was receiving care there, and my granddaughter, along with her Brownie Troop, was handing out Christmas cards. We went into Howard’s room, and he was busy figuring out something on the computer. I’m not sure what he was working on, but he certainly wasn’t going to let rehab slow him down!
I wish I could have seen him one more time. Howard was fun and entertaining to be around. He will be missed, but I’m certain he is sharing stories in heaven even now.
We will all miss Howard and his “What fun!” emails. I hoped and thought he would live forever! When I was in elementary at Harveysburg, I was so proud to have cousins (Howard and Robert) playing basketball (the school’s only competitive sport – except track) and playing in the marching band. We went to school together, to Jonah’s Run Baptist church together, and enjoyed family get-togethers.
Later, it was going to Ohio State football games (once a year) with my parents to see Howard play in the band. Sometimes, when he came home from OSU, we played bridge with my parents.
Then, when I was at Ohio State, I even babysat for them in married students’ housing. Howard enjoyed my being Barbara Doster #1, with his wife Barbara Doster #3. Even more amazing, Barbara Gibbs Doster had been named Outstanding Woman of Ohio State University – and I received the same honor!
His interest in genealogy was amazing, and he was enthusiastic about Dan Collett’s being my route into Daughters of the American Revolution. So many of us will miss him!
Howard’s “The Fun Is In The Run” still hangs in my office–and is an inspiration each and every day. His passion for agriculture and serving farmers is catalyst for others to follow in his footsteps. I will always be grateful that I met Howard–and became friends–very early in my career. His passion for agriculture, innovative spirit, servant leadership and his zest for life have improved the lives of many folks, including mine. Howard’s legacy will live on for generations to come. Thank you, Howard.
Follow this link to an article about DH Doster:
I am the webmaster of our family website “The Robert Mackay Clan” which has a section devoted to our Collett-McKay Picnic. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Cousin Howard for many years. I am grateful I was able to interview him for a couple of videos to go with the write-up he always submitted about the Picnic.
I am including a link to one of them: