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Born: Jan 30, 1952

Date of Passing: Dec 25, 2021

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January 30, 1952 - December 25 , 2021

Howie passed peacefully on his own terms on December 25, 2021.
He was born to Courtney and Eleanor Hamaberg (deceased), in Teulon, MB their second son, a little brother for Bob and big brother to Wendy and Cindy. From the very beginning, stories were told of Howie being funny, sensitive, loving, mischievous and stubborn. Nothing changed as he aged except one huge thing...his profound love of music. He got his first drum kit at around age 10 and never looked back. He was raised in Inwood and then on the farm in the Norris Lake area. Howie attended school in both Inwood and Teulon. The farm held precious memories and endless stories - his favourites being playing the drums while Bob played the accordion, listening to records, and sending for and reading drum magazines. He never had one music lesson! Drumming had to be worked in along with school, farm work and other chores. Howie also shared many adventures he had with both sets of grandparents (deceased), aunts, uncles (with only Auntie Olive and Uncle Roy remaining) and many cousins, also endless and precious to him. Howie would play his first "gig" at age 12, a wedding. Being so young, Dad had to drive him and attend the wedding and bring him home. The gigs never ended.
He would go on to have two precious children - son Cory and daughter Casey (husband Blair) and two adored grandchildren, Carter and Keaton who survive him. Howie was predeceased by an infant son, Jamie.
Howie moved to Winnipeg and spent over 20 years working at Advance TV & Stereo, leading the car stereo department. Being surrounded by music equipment and installing car stereos where music would blare was a perfect fit. Cars were another passion for him; sports cars, vintage cars, and classic models. He at some point owned every one of them. Many friends were made at Advance who remain close to him to this day. He supplemented his income playing drums during the week and on weekends with numerous bands right up until his health disallowed it. Even in hospital, he would drum on the bed, sing, and relay countless stories of the road trips and gigs he had with many different bands (all of whom he considered extended family). The longest gig was as drummer for The Platters, touring Canada and the U.S.A. for close to a year. These same band mates visited and called him endlessly in hospital. We thank all of you for that. Your visits and stories kept us all laughing and in awe that he made it this far! Howie would often end these stories with "Yep! it's been a a hell of a ride!"
After leaving Advance, he and brother Bob opened a car stereo shop in Winnipeg; followed by a couple years spent running the hotel in Treherne. Howie then returned to Winnipeg, where he landed what he considered a "perfect job." With his outgoing personality, charm, incredible wit and ability to communicate with anyone of any age, he became the skeleton and parrot that would greet you as you entered the Club Regent Casino. He had to make a good impression as these characters were the first contact that customers had.
He LOVED it and his mischievous self was once again hard at work as he worked in a small area with his animatronic equipment, being the voice and controlling the body actions of these characters (while he himself was completely out of site). It was here, he would meet his last love Deborah Ruse, who also worked at the casino.
They would eventually make a permanent move to their beloved place at Winnipeg Beach and turn it into their version of a cozy paradise. Deb would go on to work in the Gimli Collegiate and Winnipeg Beach Elementary School, a job she loved. They enjoyed their neighbours, (who we cannot thank enough for everything you did for them), bonfires, the peacefulness of small town living, nature, and the changing seasons. Many gatherings large and small were held here. The door was always open to everyone. They made their family complete, adopting a soft coated Wheaton Terrier puppy, Sam. He was truly their everything. Deb and Sam would go on to be Howie's primary caregivers and constant companions as his health deteriorated. Sadly, both Deb and Sam predeceased Howie this past year. He told us part of him went with them when they passed, and his life was never the same.
Not being able to live alone, plans were for Howie to move in with lifelong friends (extended family), Donna and Mike, in Belair, MB. They too were constant friends, providing endless love, support, and completing the many tasks needed around the home in Winnipeg Beach for many years. Fortunately, Howie was able to live with them, if only for a short while, saying he was treated like "the Prince of Belair". Our family will never be able to thank Donna and Mike enough for everything they did and were to Howie (and Deb) through everything. We also thank Maureen, Howie's go-to gal, for everything tax-related. Another cherished friend who always went above and beyond for both Howie and Deb.
Sadly, Howie's health had deteriorated to a point where the living arrangement in Belair didn't last very long. He ended up doing a "tour of the Winnipeg hospitals", finally landing at Seven Oaks, where he remained for close to a year. With dialysis, blindness, being a COVID survivor, a leg fracture surgery, and being a cardiac bypass survivor, these things kept him essentially confined to bed. He would say "if there is something that can go wrong, I'll be in the thick of it, I don't want to miss anything!" And then laugh. Although he managed this with his positive attitude and sense of humour, it took its toll on him. He never once said "why me?" Instead, he tried to look forward to what was to come and how he could make the best of it.
We are eternally grateful to all the medical staff from doctors and nurses to all the support staff, at all the hospitals. It was not always smooth sailing for Howie, family, or staff, but we all did our best. Howie was a facts guy, a straight shooter, no holes barred kind of patient, who spoke his mind on all issues (colourfully at times). He often spoke of wanting to write a book on the hospital system.
If one desires, donations can be made to the Kidney Foundation of Manitoba, in his honour.
Besides his children and grandchildren, Howie leaves to mourn his brother Bob (Sharon), sister Wendy (Mark) and sister Cindy (Al), and numerous nieces and nephews.
As per Howie's wishes he has been cremated. A private interment of ashes will take place at a later date. He also requested a party be held with drinks, food and GOOD bands to celebrate his life. That too will take place at a later date.
Well Howie, you leave a gaping hole in our lives that we will only be able to fill with our memories of this incredible life you lived and the profound impact you had on all of us. Rest easy Bro, you have earned it. We will see you on the other side.
Look out Heaven, the party has just begun!
We thank MacKenzie Funeral Home, Stonewall, for their care, compassion, and guidance. Please share your condolences and memories at

Ladies & Gentleman, Happy Howie has left the planet!
MacKenzie Funeral Home
204 467 2525

As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Jan 08, 2022

Condolences & Memories (15 entries)

  • Oh Howie… what a riot you were! Always a gentleman with a million stories and lots of gags. Your ability to rip through a crossword puzzle made it look so easy. We had a blast doing voices and jokes… Rest In Peace my friend. - Posted by: Dan Boileau (Co worker ) on: Feb 08, 2022

  • There will NEVER be another Howie. We will cherish all of our memories of him. He was a wonderful friend and we had so many fun times on stage. We know he's up there jamming with the angels!!! See you on the other side, bud. - Posted by: Cindi & Barry Steg (friends and fellow band members) on: Jan 31, 2022

  • Howie is truly one of a kind! Every time we got together with Howie and Deb my jaws would hurt from laughing so much! They lived on the West side and we were directly across on the East side of Lake Winnipeg. We often joked that we should purchase a boat together so the trip would be 20K across the lake instead of the 120K driving all around the South end. It was a hell of a ride, memories I will take with me, so much fun and no regrets! My deepest sympathy to all the family, Cindy your like a sister to me now and I cannot thank you enough for all you did for your Bro! Even near the end Howie was drumming to Elvis in his bed at the hospital, Howie said to me "No such thing as a bad gig, some are just better than others!" Love you and miss you!! - Posted by: Donna & Mike (friends and more) on: Jan 25, 2022

  • Sincere condolences to Howie's family. He was not just a tax client, Debra and Howie were like friends to me. Loved our chats every time I would visit and Howie's infectious humor. Beautiful people taken way too early. May they both be back together flying and drumming in the heavens. Loved how Howie would end his stories - Yep, it's been a hell of a ride. And for him so true. Growing up in the same area and knowing Howie's parents when I worked in the local cafe, certainly displays why he was such a kind man as his parents were wonderful as well. R.I.P. Howie !!! - Posted by: Maureen Mayhew (Friend) on: Jan 18, 2022

  • Howie's positive hilarious enthusiasm was contagious to us all. Happy Howie was always upbeat, even when his health was failing, Howie was a pleasure to be around. I first met Howie at Advance, when he was driving his Gremlin. He quipped "I left the car running on main street, with a case of beer on the front seat, and still nobody would steal it". I spent many hours with Howie as we shared laughs, beers, and a stage in bands. Howie enjoyed his place in Winnipeg Beach, and my wife and I would visit him and Deb, and were always welcomed with a hearty laugh and a beer. My deepest condolences to the Hamaberg family. Ken Kublanski - Posted by: Ken Kublanski (Bandmate/muscian) on: Jan 14, 2022

  • Condolences to the family! He was one of a kind! So sorry for your loss🙏🙏 - Posted by: Lorna Armstrong (Friend of the family ) on: Jan 13, 2022

  • Rest In Peace Howard, condolences to his family and friend. - Posted by: Janice Morin Fred West (School friends) on: Jan 09, 2022

  • I met Happy Howie when I started working at Advance in 1973. We put together a band to play weekends called Workshop with Richard Zedril and Stan Spak. Howie later became one of the drummers in the band Cindi Churko and the Cheeters with me in 1985. We also played in a band called The Gutter Brothers at The Northern Hotel on Main Street. Howie was a real life force. Ah Ha Happy Howie four days younger than I. By coincidence I was telling a nurse all about Howie two days ago and she made me aware today that has passed on Christmas Day. Another great person who has left us. Very sad. - Posted by: Ron Siwicki (Coworker at Advance, friend and former bandmate) on: Jan 09, 2022

  • I knew Howie for close to 40 years. He was part of my extended family. He lived at my pace for a few years and played drums in my brothers band (The Walsh Twins ). I had a lot of good times with him. He will be dearly missed. R.I.P Howie. My condolences to the family - Posted by: George Walsh (Friend) on: Jan 08, 2022

  • I played in a band with how I for 30 years or so, he made me laugh so much! He was truly one of the best drummers of any kind of music and a great drummer of Elvis music! Will miss all our great times and fun we had over the years! He was truly family to me!❤️ - Posted by: Tim walsh (Close friend) on: Jan 08, 2022

  • Our deepest sympathies to the Hamaberg family on the passing of Howard. I remember seeing him play the drums as a young gal and he was my first teenage crush. I was fortunate to meet up with Howard and Deborah a few years ago. He was a wonderful story teller and had this hearty laugh that was so contagious. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. - Posted by: Murray and Karen Hainstock (nee Fedorak) (Long time family friends) on: Jan 08, 2022

  • To all the family of Howard Hamaberg, Our sympathy to all of you and our friend and musician - Posted by: Zedril Family-Richard,Jeanette,Jody Jan (Friends) on: Jan 08, 2022

  • To the family, we knew your father/grandfather only as the characters at Club Regent. Now we have learned his life story and what a life, lived to the fullest. May your memories help heal and bring you peace. Hugh and Audry Letain, fans of the Skeleton and Parrot. - Posted by: Audry Letain (Fan and admirer) on: Jan 08, 2022

  • Cindy and Al, so very sorry to hear about the loss of your brother. Our sincerest condolences. - Posted by: Susan and Jack Lemoine (Cousin to Cindy and Al) on: Jan 08, 2022

  • I've known this character for well over 40 years and every time I seen him he somehow made me laugh. I will always remember him for his witty character " and he was not too shabby on the drums either" RIP buddy, heaven holds a spot for your racket! - Posted by: Randall Fedeluk (Friend) on: Jan 08, 2022

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