Joseph Lee Howery, a man of many talents and diverse occupations, passed away on Thursday, May 25, 2023, at the Indiana Veterans Home in West Lafayette. He was 91 years old. Born on June 22, 1931, to William and Irene Howery, Lee graduated from Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis in 1950.
After serving in the U.S. Army from 1951-1953, where he earned his teaching license and received an honorable discharge, Lee pursued a variety of careers. He was a professional ice skater, having first learned to roller skate as a child at Indianapolis’ Riverside Amusement Park. He performed at bond rallies during World War 2 and was a featured performer with Olympic champion Sonja Henie in her touring ice shows. Lee worked in fashion all his life, selling clothes at Severin Men’s Store, teaching design at Indiana University, decorating store windows for several department stores, including L.S. Ayres, L. Strauss, and Loeb, and was responsible for setting up diamond displays for Harry Winston, Inc. He also decorated the MGM Grand Hotel and Tampa International Airport.
Lee was in a committed relationship with Joseph Rafferty for 47 years until Joe's passing in 2003. Together, they owned Lee's Antiques and the Nashville Candy Store in Heritage Mall, as well as a gifts and decor store and a collectible doll store and museum. On his way to teach at IU, he drove through Nashville, bought a Nippon vase for $1 and then sold it for $15. That paid the first month’s rent and Lee’s Antiques was born. Lee never knew a stranger and told everyone about the many interesting people who came through his shop. He closed Lee's Antiques in 2009 and retired.
Lee was preceded in death by his parents, his partner Joe, and his brother Francis Howery.
Lee’s family and many friends are grateful for the hard work and loving care provided to him by the Brown County Veterans’ Service Officer, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Bloomington VA Clinic, and the Indiana Veterans Home.
Family and friends will gather Friday, June 2, 2023 at 11:00 AM in St. Agnes Catholic Church, 1008 McLary Road, Nashville, where the Mass of Christian Burial will begin at 12:30 PM.
Burial will take place in Greenlawn Cemetery on Main Street in Nashville.
Bussell Family Funerals is privileged to assist in arrangements.
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