HOWARD Royce Bottcher, born in Ipswich in 1916, was a true gentleman. Well spoken, well-mannered and with excellent taste, Howard was a lifelong funeral director and provided comfort and dignity to a great many Ipswich citizens.
Howard was the son of Otto Bottcher, the founder of O. Bottcher and Son at 81 Limestone St, Ipswich, which would go on to become the oldest firm of funeral directors in Ipswich under the name of Reed & Bottcher.
So when Howard passed away last month in his 100th year, how did he want his funeral?
"The funeral was a very low key affair, with only 23 people attending," said Paul Whear, Location Manager for Reed & Bottcher a Simplicity Funeral Service. "Howard wanted the service like this because when we did his wife's funeral about 15 months ago he said, 'I want mine the same as hers'."
A lover of classical music (anything else was referred to as "punk rock"), Howard chose the songs for his own service, which included Bach, Handel and the hymn Lead Kindly Light. Howard's niece, Phillida, even travelled to the funeral and played Franz Schubert on the piano during the service.
While Howard and his wife Neta had no children of their own, they are survived by many friends and family members, including their nieces and nephews, on whom they poured much love and affection into.
Paul Whear concluded by saying, "During Howard's long life, he helped many families say farewell to their loved ones. It was fitting then, that his family and friends were present for his farewell, as well as those of us at Reed & Bottcher. We learned so much from Howard, including the importance of supporting the community and family life of Ipswich."