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Selfless, humble, faith-filled and powerful: Phyllis Arlene Howard (née Potter) is being remembered by her family and friends as a quiet giant who always gave freely and unflinchingly of herself. Phyllis passed away at the age of 90 on Sept. 25 in Muskegon, MI surrounded by her three children and the care teams of Chestnut Fields and Hospice of Michigan.

A lifelong Muskegon resident,Howard was the daughter of Edith and George Potter. A phenomenal swimmer, she was one of the first female lifeguards to work on Lake Michigan, a job not open to women until World War II. After graduating from Muskegon High School in 1948, she went to work for her brother, Floyd Potter, at Potter’s Lamps & Lights in Muskegon Heights.

Howard loved customer service and received incredible satisfaction from serving others. She worked at Potter’s Lamps for all of its 65 years in business, eventually purchasing the store from her brother. She became a well-known and well-respected matriarch in the close-knit and family focused lighting industry. 

She will be remembered by her children Larry (Char) Howard, Rick (Patricia) Howard, Cheryl Coutchie (Matt) Wansten; grandchildren Ashley (Joel) Schnotala, Sarah Edwards, Scott (Andi) Dreier, Jess (Chris) Randall, Fritz Coutchie, Katie Coutchie, Kyl Wansten and Lexie Wansten; and her nine great grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband, I. Ralph Howard.