Howard Teifke Remembered For Kindness, Commitment To Community

Howard Teifke displays his Ohio Bowling Hall of Fame award at The Timbers Bowling Lanes in Maumee. Teifke was inducted as a pioneer in the sport of bowling in 2014. MIRROR PHOTO BY DENNY McCARTHY

BY NANCY GAGNET | MIRROR REPORTER — Longtime Maumee resident, business owner, devoted member of the community and staunch Ohio State Buckeyes fan Howard Teifke passed away on February 15. He was 93.

A graduate of The Ohio State University, Howard was recruited to play football – playing center for the team. His love for the Buckeyes remained on full display both at his home in uptown Maumee and his place of business at The Timbers Bowling Lanes on Conant Street. 

In 1944, Howard enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Crops, where he served as a member of the 376th Heavy Bombardment Group in Italy during World War II. He flew in 25 missions as an upper turret gunner on a B-24 Liberator.

He returned to college to earn a bachelor’s degree in education, then became a math teacher and football and baseball coach at Waite High School.

In 1953, Howard began his career in the bowling business when he accepted a position as manager at the Toledo Sports Center. He went on to purchase The Timbers Bowling Lanes in 1963.

His son Marty became a partner with him in 1988. 

“Just by watching him, my dad taught me how to do things the right way,” said Marty. “He never cut corners. He was old-school.”

Marty said that his father was a very hard worker, who worked at the bowling alley up until late last year.

“He was a rare person,” said Marty. “Nobody ever saw him down – even when he wasn’t feeling well, he never complained and he would just plow through everything.”

In 2014, Howard was inducted into the Ohio Bowling Hall of Fame for his contributions and achievements in the sport. In an interview with The Mirror at that time, Howard said that he enjoyed the social aspect of the sport – especially the people he met, including one very important person in his life.

“I met my wife at a bowling alley, so I would say it’s the best thing that ever happened to me,” Howard said.

In 2018, Howard and his wife Teresa celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary.

Howard was deeply committed to the Maumee community, where he was involved in a number of civic organizations, including the Rotary Club of Maumee and the Maumee Chamber of Commerce. In 1994, the chamber presented Howard with the Outstanding Citizen Award.

He was also devoted to public service. In 1984, he was elected to Maumee City Council, where he served for 16 years, including as council president in 1998 and 1999.

Former Maumee city administrator Dick Krieger said that Howard was extremely conscientious, taking the time to read through all materials prior to coming to the meetings so that he was fully prepared when the time came to make decisions.

“They don’t make them like that anymore. He was a first-class guy,” Krieger said. “He really, really cared about the community.”

Former Mayor Steve Pauken echoed that same sentiment.

“Howard would sit back and would say very little. Then when he spoke, it mattered,” Pauken said. “He could see things how they were and he listened. His strength was his ability to see it and deal with it without bias.”

Howard also served as a member of the city Planning Commission. He was additionally a member of the Quality of Life Committee, a civic group of senior residents focused on events and activities taking place in Maumee.

Former Mayor Harry Barlos referred to Howard as a pillar in the community. Even when the city was facing extremely difficult situations that would require executive sessions to run well past midnight, Howard kept a calm, steady presence, said Barlos. 

“He was a soldier in those meetings and he never had an agenda. He was grounded and he had good ideas,” Barlos noted.

Barlos also said that Howard never played into party politics.

“Howard was a gentle man. He was a kind soul. He didn’t have a bad word to say about anybody. I will miss him,” he said.

Maumee Municipal Court Judge Dan Hazard agreed.

“Howard was extremely kind and warm-hearted,” Hazard said.

Hazard, who is also a graduate of The Ohio State University, would often talk to Howard, especially if he saw him sitting out on his porch reading.

“I would want to talk to him about his WWII experience, but he would always steer the conversation to the Buckeyes and he would always want to talk about the next recruiting class,” he said.

Like many others, Hazard considered Howard to be a mentor, so when he decided to run for a seat on Maumee City Council, Howard was the first person he consulted.

“I remember my first conversation with Mr. Teifke after my first election to city council. He told me to always put Maumee first, before politics or other concerns,” said Hazard. “He said that if I did that, I would have great success.”

According to Marty, his dad also loved to fish, traveling to Tennessee for family vacations and to Canada for extended fishing trips.

“My brother and I would fish at night for muskie and my dad was in his 70s, and he wanted to be with us, so he would lay down on the boat while we fished and he would open up and tell us stories about the war – it was special,” Marty said. “His body just shut down in the end, but his mind was rock-solid. His life was fulfilled.”

In addition to his wife Teresa and his son Marty, Howard is survived by his sons, Michael and Matthew; daughter, Melissa; grandchildren, Gabby, Drew, Haley, Matthew, Sam, Lucy, Jackson Howard and Lily; and great- grandson, George Howard.

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