REDONDO BEACH, Calif. — John Thomas Howard, 81, passed away March 9, 2017, in Redondo Beach, after a short but noble battle with cancer. Born on May 18, 1935, in Ottumwa, Iowa, to Lyle and Genevieve (Rater) Howard, Tom graduated from Loras College in Dubuque, and then Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he received his doctor of dental surgery (DDS) in 1959. While in Milwaukee he met his wife, Marie Finn. Tom and Marie were married for 57 years and raised five children: Anne, (Redondo Beach), Tim, (Columbia, South Carolina), Beth, (Donnellson, Iowa), Michael, (Costa Mesa, California), and Patrick (Vickie), (Sammamish, Washington).
Tom practiced dentistry for 41 years, first in the U.S. Navy in San Diego, California, then in Ottumwa, Iowa, eventually relocating to Davenport. His career was a fitting one for someone who valued the power of a smile. He was passionate about his work and had a gift for healing others. He was always hungry for more knowledge, and as such continued his education, receiving additional advanced degrees in integrative medicine, gnathologic orthopedics and cranial osteopathy.
After retiring from dentistry in 2001, he and Marie moved to Southern California. An avid sailor, Tom joined the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary in Marina Del Rey and served 15 years with the organization, including as commander of his local flotilla.
Tom lived a full life, going on many adventures with his family, including winter trips to the Bahamas, motorcycle tours throughout California and Europe, and several safaris in Africa.
He is survived by his wife, five children and five grandchildren.
The USCG will honor his years of service with a burial at sea.