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(Enlarge) Baltimore County Police Honor Guard bearers, from left, officers Kevin Wilt,\r\nRobert Wright, Michael Cortez, Michelle Green and David Nilsen, carry\r\nManchester resident Lt. Mike Howe, commander of the county¹s Tactical Unit,\r\nto his final resting place during ceremonies at Dulaney Valley Memorial\r\nGardens in Timonium. Ceremonies for Howe were held Saturday in Carroll and\r\nBaltimore counties. Staff photo by Eli Meir Kaplan\r\n

A sea of blue and green — the uniform colors of seemingly every law enforcement agency in Maryland — greeted Lt. Michael Howe at the final stop in his adopted hometown of Manchester on Saturday.

More than 300 officers, and an equal number of family and friends gathered to pay their respects to a man described as a tireless leader, a compassionate father and a light-hearted friend who, at times, was called upon to make the toughest decisions in law enforcement.

'Every time he was called out, it had the potential to be a life-and-death situation,' said Maryland State Police Superintendent Col. Terrence Sheridan.

Howe, who commanded Baltimore County¹s Tactical Unit, died of a stroke Aug. 11, a day after responding to a murder-suicide in Randallstown.

A 30-year police department veteran, Howe collapsed after returning home from the incident Aug. 10. He was taken to Johns Hopkins Hospital and died the next afternoon. His death was deemed to be in the line of duty.

Saturday, his home parish of St. Bartholomew Catholic Church could barely contain the outpouring of respect, admiration and love for Howe, as law enforcement officers from Harford County to Ocean City and Montgomery County to the Maryland Transportation Authority converged in Manchester.

Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson recalled Howe¹s gift of being able to lift spirits with wit and humor, but at the same time exude confidence.

Johnson recalled recently asking Howe if, after commanding the Tactical Unit since 1998, he might enjoy a change of position.

'Without hesitation, he assumed a command posture and reminded me how much the team meant to him,' said Johnson. 'He cherished the team.'

A moving tribute was also shared by a member of the Tactical Unit, Office Dan Rose, who recalled a mix of jovial meals, hard training and the family atmosphere Howe encouraged.

Rose said Howe was sometimes notorious for long roll call meetings, but he knew they had a hidden purpose.

'I think he figured that the longer he dragged it on, the longer the team
could be together,' Rose said.

'You are loved and missed by every member of the team,' Rose said, gesturing
toward Howe's casket. 'Your presence every day was truly a gift.'

Howe was born March 9, 1953, in Baltimore, and was the son of the late Lyman H. and Irene Mavromihalis Howe.

The Rev. Michael Roach, pastor at St. Bartholomew, said Howe¹s devotion to family and his keen sense of duty and discipline carried him from the rough Baltimore neighborhoods to Mount St. Joseph High School and into police service.

Father Roach cited the 'loving dynamic' between Howe and his officers, and said he lived his life as an unassuming and faithful Irish Catholic, possessing 'father-like' qualities that made him unforgettable.

'When the Almighty looks on Michael Howe,' Father Roach said, 'he will surely see something of Himself.'

Howe is survived by beloved wife Debra L. Howe; stepson Jason Simons and his wife Melissa; brother Chris Howe and his wife Cindy; grandson Jackson W. Simons; and godchild Kyle L. Hann.

Along with many close friends in his Manchester neighborhood, he is also survived by mother- and father-in-law James and Nancy Seal, brother- and sister-in-law Don and Salli Goodrich and nieces and nephew Ryan Howe, Erin Haines and Rory Howe.

As a massive motorcade left St. Bartholomew¹s parking lot on Saturday, police car after police car turned onto Route 30 to head toward Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens in Timonium, and rode near a final tribute offered by the community itself.

On the marquee at Capt. Bob's Crabs, where usually the price of a bushel is noted, a more solemn and simple gesture was reflected: 'We are going to miss you, Mike.'

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Bartholomew Church, 2930 Hanover Pike, P.O. Box 448, Manchester, MD 21102.

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