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Remembering Howard Raabe — ‘the veggie man’
For years, Howard Raabe sold vegetables across from the Plaza in Poth.
People still ask about “the veggie man.”
Thomas Howard Raabe is no longer with us. He entered his eternal reward to be with our Lord on December 27, 2013, at the age of 80.
Howard’s wife, Frances, recalls that her husband always had a green thumb; he loved the earth he tilled, but now, she says, he is a “gardener for God.”
“We are all put here on Earth for a short while,” Frances said. “We need to make good use of that time.” She recalls how her husband would have to be called in to lunch to rest; he so loved working in his garden.
Howard married the love of his life, Mary Frances Jauer, on Oct. 22, 1960, and together they raised four beautiful, talented, and generous children.
Howard and Frances shared a passion for caring for their fellow man. For more than 40 years, they took care of at least 15 people in their neighborhood. They were all elderly people who needed someone to take them to doctors’ appointments or to visit loved ones in the nursing home.
Frances would cook and Howard would take food to a shut-in or a friend. Friends were always so grateful to him for the home-cooked food and homegrown vegetables.
“The veggie man” was ready to lend a helping hand in other ways, too. Last summer he built a seven-wire barbed fence with two electric wires to keep out the wild hogs. Francis proudly recalls that he caught 17 wild hogs last year and butchered them, too!
Howard worked hard all his life. He died from Guillain-Barré syndrome, after being paralyzed for 43 days from his neck down. He had control of his body functions and a good mind to the very end, but did not want to live paralyzed.
While “the veggie man” is no longer on the Plaza in Poth, many people fondly recall the farm fresh produce grown in love and delivered with a friendly smile.
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