Howard Christ Kautz, 81, Fairmont, MN and formerly of Truman, MN and Cavalier, ND, died as a result of complications of Alzheimer’s Disease, including congestive heart failure, on Tuesday, August 9, 2022 in Fairmont. Funeral services will be held at 10 am, Tuesday, August 16 at Trinity Lutheran Church, Truman. Visitation will be from 5-7 pm on Monday, August 15 at Zaharia Family Funeral Home, Truman and one hour before the service at the church on Tuesday. Burial with military honors will be at Ridgelawn Memorial Park cemetery, Truman, immediately following the service.
Howard was born on August 27, 1940, in Elgin, ND, to Christian and Elizabeth (Giese) Kautz. Tragically, at the age of 5 years old, his mother died but he was welcomed to join the family of his Uncle Sam and Aunt Erna Kautz who were also his sponsors. He attended country school through 8th grade and graduated from New Leipzig High School in 1958. He played football and won numerous blue ribbons and medals in track during high school. After graduating, he worked with William Eisenbarth Custom Combiners. He later worked for Tietz Hardware, New Leipzig, and eventually attended the Wahpeton State School of Science for general mechanics and welding. He served in the Army National Guard from 1961-1967.
During his elementary school years, an adventurous, handsome Howard charmed shy LuElla Anita Schock from the nearby community of Elgin while attending play day at Trinity Lutheran Church, near New Leipzig. He kissed her and they were “married” that day. Later, LuElla invited Howard to her senior prom and a lifelong love affair ensued. They were married on October 6, 1961 at Zion Lutheran Church, Elgin, ND. They moved to Fort Riley, KS, when Howard was activated in the National Guard for the Berlin Crisis where their first son, Mike, was born in 1962. The couple made their home in New Leipzig, where they welcomed Howard’s father, Christ, to move in with their family. Their children, Belinda and Jonathan, were born in 1963 and 1967, respectively, in nearby Elgin.
Howard continued to work for Tietz Hardware from 1962-1970. In 1970, he moved his family to Jamestown, ND to become employed with Montana Dakota Utilities (MDU; natural gas company) where their daughter Teresa was born in 1971. In 1972, Howard was offered a promotion to move to Cavalier, ND where he became the local MDU service representative until he was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis and had to retire early in 1995.
Howard was very well liked wherever he went and was known for his good nature and humor. He was dedicated and devoted to his wife, children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. He and LuElla were major supporters and fans of their family’s pursuits of numerous church, school, and community activities. He was also active in community service including volunteering as a member of the New Leipzig School Board, the North Dakota American Legion, Cavalier Jaycees, United Lutheran Church Council in Cavalier and Police Commissioner on the Cavalier City Council. He was also a volunteer fireman in both New Leipzig and Cavalier.
In 2006, he and LuElla moved to Truman, MN, to be closer to their daughter Teresa and her family where they lived until 2021, when they moved to Goldfinch Assisted Living in Fairmont. During retirement, they traveled as much as possible including trips to Mexico, the Panama Canal, Europe, and more. They also traveled continually to visit their children and grandchildren in multiple states across the United States and in Europe.
Howard is survived by his four children, Michael (Kim), Colorado Springs, CO, Belinda (Kevin) Schluchter, Indianapolis, IN, Jonathan (Connie), Flower Mound, TX and Teresa (Jeff Hall) Zaharia, Truman; 2 sisters, Florence (Delmar) Seidler and Priscilla (Bob) Weiderhold; one brother, LeRoy (Dodie) Kautz; 7 sisters-in-law, Betty Mallory, Jeanette Emineth, Karen (Dennis) Sabin, JoAnn (Kirby) Schatz, Brenda (Perry) Laub, Peggy Schock, and Alvina Kautz; 2 brothers-in-law, Marvin (Dianne) and Gene (Cathie) Schock; 16 grandchildren, Maggie and Alaina Kautz, Heather (Amber) and Mychael (Lauren) Checky, Bella (Kevin) Perez, Gracie Caruso, Cole (Abbey), Keaton (Ariana) and Kennedy (Hanna) Schluchter, Karlee (Cruz) Hale, Ashlee (Brett) Nicholson, Emily (Danny) Skoglund, Courtney, Johnnie and Gracie Zaharia and Makayla Hall; and 11 great-grandchildren, Grayson, Aki, Jude, Addy, Mason, Sophia, Faye, Levi, Nash, Rhett and Graham.
He was preceded in death by his loving wife of 60 years, LuElla; his parents, Christ and Elizabeth (Giese) Kautz and Sam and Erna (Hertz) Kautz; his parents-in-law Ruben and Delia Schock; 2 sisters, Ethel and Carol Kautz; one brother Corwin Kautz; and 2 brothers-in-law, Leslie Schock and Clyde Mallory.
Memorials are preferred to the Alzheimer’s Association or the Salvation Army.