Howard Clay Caldwell Jr., 92, passed on to his heavenly home at 5:27 a.m. Monday, Sept. 11, 2017, surrounded by his loved ones.
A lifelong resident of Indianapolis, Howard was born July 18, 1925 in Irvington to Howard C. Caldwell Sr. and Elsie Rebecca (Felt). He enjoyed the small-town feel of growing up on Bosart Avenue and then Hawthorne Lane. Howard's love of reading, writing and speaking were apparent at an early age. Copies survive of his weekly neighborhood newspaper produced with a rubber stamp and an ink pad, sold for ½ cent per issue.
After graduating from Howe High School in 1944, Howard served in the Navy during World War II, spending a year as a radio operator aboard a minesweeper. He went on to graduate from Butler University in 1950 with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's in political science. His first job in journalism came in Hagerstown, Indiana, at The Exponent, a weekly newspaper. After one year on the job, Howard was recalled to service during the Korean conflict in 1951, serving at the Great Lakes Naval Base, north of Chicago, as editor of a newsletter.
In 1952, Howard's broadcast career began in Terre Haute, Indiana, at WTHI Radio/TV, channel 10. In carryng out his duties as a reporter, Howard ran across an Indiana State student named Helen Lynn Gruenholz, whom he met and dated. On March 20, 1955, the two married at First Baptist Church in Terre Haute. Before Howard passed, he and Lynn celebrated 62 years of marriage. Howard affectionately referred to Lynn as "Linnie," and in his last years, enjoyed staring at Linnie's engagement photo. Howard and Lynn were regulars at Indianapolis Indians baseball games and Butler basketball games. They also attended concerts and theatre productions, taking joy whether they were at Clowes Hall or Radio City Music Hall. The two simply desired to spend time together, and in later years, sat side by side on their couch watching the news, the weather and sports events.
Howard's 35-year Indianapolis broadcast career began in 1959 when Bob Gamble hired him as an anchorman at WFBM, known now as WRTV, Channel 6. In 1965, Howard was sent on a monthlong assignment with photographer Les Walden to the Far East. Before embarking, Indira Ghandi was elected prime minister of India, and a request was submitted for an interview. Upon arrival, the interview was granted, and Howard became the first American journalist to interview Madame Ghandi. The interview was used nationally on the NBC "Today" program. Also, his documentary on hunger in India led to a 1967 Indianapolis Press Club Award.
A lifelong Indianapolis Indians baseball fan, Howard chose to celebrate his later birthdays with his children and grandchildren at home ballgames. Rarely, if ever, did Howard leave a game before its conclusion. Also a lifelong Butler Bulldogs fan, one of Howard's greatest thrills was seeing Butler play in the Final Four of the NCAA tournament in Indianapolis in 2010. Eighty-four years of age at the time, Howard eagerly arose in the early hours to wait in line to fill out an application for the coveted tickets.
Howard held memberships in several civic organizations and had been a member of the Butler University Board of Trustees. He was a member of the Sigma Chi social fraternity at Butler, an organization in which he remained active and through which he developed and maintained lifelong friendships. Howard was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame in 1991, whose write-up of Howard's career was a useful resource in compiling his life journey. Howard was a member of the Service Club of Indianapolis, a professional/business group of war veterans. He is a former president of the Indianapolis Press Club and Central Indiana Chapter of Sigma Delta Chi, Society of Professional Journalists. Howard had many other honors, but what he most treasured was family and friendships.
In the midst of his broadcast career, Howard found time to author two books: "Tony Hinkle, Coach for all Seasons," a biography of the long-time Butler coach; and "The Golden Age of Indianapolis Theaters," a history of theatre productions in downtown Indianapolis. Howard also wrote the text for "Indianapolis," a book of photography by Darryl Jones.
Howard was preceded in death by his parents, Howard and Elsie; a stepmother, Bertha Lugar Caldwell; his mother-in-law, Helen Lynn (Arrington), and father-in-law, Albert Gruenholz; a sister, Virginia ("Gigi"} Caldwell; brother-in-law, Herman Gruenholz; and a granddaughter, Emily Lynn Hingst.
He is survived by his wife, Lynn; three daughters and their spouses, Dan and Tracy Reidy, Bill and Ginny Hingst, and Rick and Susan Hutchins; seven grandchildren, Sean Reidy, Rebecca Reidy and Michael Reidy, Jack (Monica) Hingst and Katie Hingst, Patrick Fountain and Benji Fountain; three stepsiblings, Richard (Char) Lugar, Tom (Sally) Lugar and Ann Macrum; and first cousin, Cliff Browder.
The family wishes to extend its deepest gratitude to "fourth daughter" Amy Kelly, the third-floor staff at Kesslerwood Place and the Hospice Care team. All provided Howard with compassionate and expert care. Their kindness will never be forgotten.
Visitation will be from 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 14, 2017, and from 10 a.m. until the time of service at 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 15, 2017, at Castleton United Methodist Church, 7101 Shadeland Ave. Howard will be laid to rest at Crown Hill Mausoleum with the U.S. Navy providing military honors.
Contributions in Howard's memory may be submitted to Castleton United Methodist Church, the Alzheimer's Association or Butler University. Final care and arrangements are entrusted to Shirley Brothers Fishers-Castleton Chapel. www.shirleybrothers.com.
Published on September 12, 2017