ID: RHW_002 / Heather Haward

TitleRichard Howard - Eulogy by his wife Heather
AbstractWell, what can I say about Richard? Much more than I can squeeze into the next five minutes that's for sure.

He was a man who loved his work, whether it be grading soles, counting oysters or driving loads of fish here and there and everywhere, he would be in his element.

I first met Richard fifty four years ago when we were at the end of the causeway "shaking herrings" from the drift nets, I looked across to the boat that he was on and knew that he was the man I was going to marry - the poor bloke didn't stand a chance!

The last fifty two years of marriage have been a bit like a voyage at sea for us, sometimes we would be "be-calmed" other times it woud be "choppy" then there were times when we were "in irons" which meant we didn't know which way to go. There were also times when I would be "stressing" over some problem or other and Richard would sit and think about it and would then just say a few words and everything would make sense - he was always my "bridge over troubled waters".

I know that during his lifetime he helped many people in his own quiet way. Years ago Richard was like the Mersea Labour Exchange! what you younger ones know as the "Job Centre" now. He would always give people a chance. He was known as "Just Go"! the drivers would turn up thinking they were going to Lowestoft then he would say when you've done that "just go" to Birmingham or somewhere else miles away.

The day after Bram passed his driving test Richard sent him to Billingsgate then Heathrow airport to collect fish then on to Glasgow!

He had Caroline grading herrings and skinning roker when she was only eleven.

Tom and Joe would go down the sea-wall with ropes round their waists dragging a fish box in order to cut their Dad a load of samphire grass, this was when they were still in primary school!

As for myself he once sent me off to Lowestoft with a lorry load of herrings, I followed Chris Jamieson who also had a full lorry. When I backed up to the Quay at Lowestoft I had great delight in pulling on the air brake (phoosh) - I was so proud of myself.

We have been overwhelmed with cards, letters, flowers and food. THANK YOU.

So, I would like to finish with part of a letter that Angus wrote to me. Angus is the son of Johnny Milgate who was another Mersea "gentle" man and was loved by many. John died the day before the very first lock down and Richard and myself felt bereft that we couldn't go to his funeral but you [John] are in here in heart in church today.

[Angus wrote:] One of my earliest Mersea Memories is seeing a giant walk up the Hard in a smock and boots, then when that giant broke into a smile and spoke to Dad and then me I knew everything would be alright.

    Breathe   Breathe

He was such a big presence in so many ways, FATHER, HUSBAND, FRIEND, TEACHER and OYSTERMAN.

    Rest in peace

Just crack on

Biography by Richard's wife Heather

Sermon by Richard's son Joe

AuthorHeather Haward
SourceMersea Museum