Gudrun Birch Howe, 1905-2005

A celebration of her life was held at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington, Massachusetts on 15 May at 2 pm. See the Memorial Celebration Program

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Gudrun Birch Howe Biography

Gudrun Adele (Birch) Howe died on 29 January 2005 after a brief illness at age 99. She was born in Boston on 30 October 1905, the daughter of Gaius Bjerke and Karoline Larsen, who emigrated from Norway a few years earlier. She was raised in Beverly and graduated from Beverly High School in 1923.. She was formally trained in classical piano and devoted a great deal of her life to music and the arts. She played for silent movies in the 1920s, and she taught music and piano at the Park School in Brookline for several years. She married Dr. Henry F. Howe in 1931 and moved to Cohasset where she raised her family and was active in town and Unitarian church activities. In 1950, she wrote the music for the original musical comedy “March Meeting” produced by the Rotary Club as a fundraiser. It was highly successful and was repeated again in 1956 by the Cohasset Dramatic Club.

She was divorced in 1963 and lived in Cohasset for several more years, but then moved to Cambridge where she began a new career as a Director of Volunteers for two Boston Hospitals and later as a Director of Volunteers for the elderly for Minuteman Home Care of Burlington, MA. She retired in Arlington, MA, and remained very active in the Unitarian-Universalist Church in Arlington until her death.

Throughout her life, she was active in music and the arts. In addition to playing the piano and composing, she studied painting and produced many original paintings. She played the piano and taught art classes at Sunrise Assisted Living of Arlington, where she lived in her last few years, until a month before she died.

She is survived by her sons Walter Howe of Woburn and Oliver Howe of Indianapolis, seven grandchildren, and many more family members and friends who loved her.

Gudrun Birch Howe Memorial Celebration Program
First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington
15 May 2005
PRELUDE    “Springtide”  Edward Grieg

WELCOME       Rev. Dr. Barbara Whittaker-Johns

AFFIRMATION #682  “Beauty Is Before Me”

SINGING #21  “For the Beauty of the Earth”



Remembrances     Walter Howe

Anthem          Prayer from “Hansel and Gretel” by Humperdinck

Remembrances from First Parish Friends
Mary B. Young
Deborah  Lewis

Anthem                 “Meditation” by Gudrun B. Howe

Remembrances from the Alliance          Cheri Minton

Congregational Sharing

Gudrun’s “I Laugh in Bed”  read by Walter Howe

Allelujah from “Exultate Jubilate” by Mozart, Performed on trumpet by great grandson Daniel Nagy


Responsive Reading from Psalm 139


SINGING  “Hymn”  by Gudrun Howe (See insert)


RECESSIONAL     “Gig Fugue”   Dietrich Buxtehude

Serving Us Today
Service                           Rev. Dr. Barbara Whittaker-Johns
Organist                         Wendy Covell
Choir Conductor     Donn Hill
Choir                     Mishawum Choral Society
joined by members of First Parish Choir
Pianist                           Brett Hinkel