Global Ministries is saddened to learn of the death of Howard Trumbull

Global Ministries is saddened to learn of the death of Howard Trumbull

Howard Trumbull
December 19, 1921 – December 27, 2014

Mr. Trumbull completed high school in Columbus, Ohio and one year of college at Ohio State before joining the Army Air Corps and served three years. He met and married Marjorie Fletcher in 1944. After the war he used the GI Bill at Wayne State, graduating with a degree in Business and Taxation.   He worked for the US Treasury as an Internal Revenue Service agent before becoming the chief accountant of the laundry division at Whirlpool in St. Joseph Michigan.  

Howard and Marge raised four children (David, Pam, Michael, and Ginger) while in St. Joseph.   They became missionaries in 1960 for the United Church Board for World Ministries of the United Church of Christ (a predecessor mission body of what today is Global Ministries), and served for fifteen years in South Africa and Botswana.  While in Durban, South Africa Howard was the treasurer of the Natal Region of the United Congregational Church of Southern Africa.  He also solicited funds to assist the wives and families of political prisoners.  He became friends with many people during those years, including Alan Paton, author of “Cry, the Beloved Country” and Albert Luthuli, winner of the Nobel Peace Prize in 1963.  Due to Howard’s activities and basic belief in the equality of all people, regardless of racial background, the family was deported by the apartheid government of South Africa in 1971.  Howard and Marge were then appointed to serve in Botswana. During his service in Botswana, Howard was a welfare officer for the Botswana Council of Churches and also collaborated with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, providing housing and funds for those fleeing the harsh realities of the apartheid regime in South Africa. 

In 1975 Howard and Marge left southern Africa and moved to a Christian community in Grand Rapids for three years.  Howard became a volunteer for a hospice in Grand Rapids and eventually helped train new volunteers.  He retired in 1985 from the Area Agency for Aging in Grand Rapids, first moving to Fairfield Bay, Arkansas and then residing in Goshen, Indiana. They settled in Kalamazoo, Michigan in 2009.  

Howard and Marge resided in thirty one different places during their married life.   Marge died in February, 2012.  Howard was the sole caretaker for Marge during the last few years of her life.  He also became a close companion and caretaker of a friend in hospice care at Friendship Village in Kalamazoo, Michigan where he moved in December, 2012.  He frequently reported that it was one of the best places to live!  He spent the last two years of his life living at Friendship Village, starting in an independent living apartment, transitioned to assisted living and the last two months in the Health Center (skilled nursing facility) under the care and support of Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan.  He often expressed how grateful he was for the care and wonderful treatment he received from both the hospice staff and the staff at the Health Center.  

Howard Trumbull was an avid reader, boatman, camper, photographer, audiophile, a licensed private pilot, an early adopter of computers and electronic devices, and helped others with technology.  He was a member of the Kalamazoo Unitarian People´s Church.  

Howard is survived by a sister, Mary Putnam (Doug Putnam) of Elkhart, Indiana; a step sister, Deborah Trumbull of Ithaca, New York; and his four children, David Trumbull (Evelyn Bollinger) of Chicago, Illinois; Pam Chamberlin (John Chamberlin) of Kalamazoo, Michigan; Michael Trumbull (Joyce Michael) of Colorado Springs, Colorado; and Ginger Trumbull of Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is fondly remembered by eight grandchildren and three great-grandsons.  According to his wishes, his body was donated to medical science and research at the University of Michigan. 

Condolences may be sent to Howard’s son, David Trumbull, at or 11011 S. Artesian Ave, Chicago, IL 60655-1311.