Howard Sander, age 82, of Olivia died Tuesday, April 23, 2019 at St. Cloud Hospital in St. Cloud. Memorial services will be Wednesday, May 1, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at Zion Lutheran Church in Olivia with Rev. Rick Tuttle officiating. Burial will be in Bethel Cemetery south of Fairfax and military rites will be provided by the Olivia American Legion and VFW. Visitation is Tuesday from 5-7 p.m. at Dirks-Blem Funeral Home in Olivia and continues for one hour prior to the service at the church on Wednesday. Due to Howie’s longtime police career uniform presence is most welcome.
Howard James Sander was born October 19, 1936, in New Ulm, MN, to Roy and Verna (Kitzrow) Sander. Howie grew up in the Fairfax area, attended Fairfax Public Schools, and graduated in June 1955. He proudly enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in June of 1955 and was honorably discharged in June of 1959 spending most of his time overseas in Okinawa, Japan, and in Taiwan. He felt this period in the Marines Corps helped shaped his life and was one of the best decisions he ever made. After his discharge he worked various jobs in construction and as a plumber in Fairfax. Howie married Eileen Black in May of 1963 and they were parents of two children. In 1964 he joined the Fairfax Police Dept and worked there two years after which he was employed by the Renville County Sheriff Dept as a deputy sheriff. In 1971 Howie joined the Olivia Police Dept serving full time for 21 years including 18 as Chief of Police. Howie retired in 1992 but continued to work part time for four more years as an officer. He was proud to serve the communities in which he served for so many years. In retirement he worked part time for the Renville County Highway Dept mowing roadsides as well as for the City of Olivia Parks Dept doing maintenance work and mowing. One of Howie’s weekly highlights was volunteering at the Renville County Food Shelf for over 12 years. He was an active member of the American Legion in Olivia and had not only served the community doing military honors at many funerals but enjoyed serving weekly with the different events at the Legion. Howie enjoyed tinkering with things as well as working in his garden. He really loved nature, whether simply being outside, time spent fishing and hunting, making drives along the river bottom, and taking in sights on two trips to Alaska. Howie enjoyed time spent with family and cherished the time with his grandchildren.
Howie is survived by his two children: Joleen “Jo” (and Bob) Pitts of Big Lake and Tom (and Kelly) Sander of Alexandria; his five grandchildren: Samantha “Sam” Pitts, Jake Pitts, Jesse Sander, Shane Sander, and Tory Sander; his sister-in-law Mitzi Sander of Apple Valley; and his nieces and nephews: Rick Sander, Cindy (and Paul) Holmvik, Randy Scheller, and Linda Scheller. Howie was preceded in death by his parents; his wife Eileen; his sisters Barb Scheller and Dorothy Sander; his brother Gene Sander and three infant brothers; and nephew Kevin Sander.
Dirks-Blem Funeral Service offers many styles of services to honor the memory of your loved one. Funerals should be meaningful, reflect the individual, and celebrate the life they led. Personalized funerals are more involved, giving people a chance to remember what made that individual so unique.