Obituary: Howard M. Jelleme: 1932 - 2024

Nantucket Current •

Howard M. Jelleme, of Key Colony Beach Florida, passed away peacefully on June 13, 2024, with his loving wife, Robin Kuhn by his side. As all who had the good fortune to know Howard will attest, he was a man of larger-than-life passion, energy and interests who loved life, family and friends with a depth that was truly remarkable.

Howard was born in Fall River Massachusetts, on April 20, 1932. The oldest child of John R. and Julia (Merchant) Jelleme, he grew up in Dedham and summered on Nantucket. After attending Noble & Greenough and Wentworth Institute of Technology, he served honorably in the Korean War.

Following his discharge from the military, he settled in Nantucket and founded Howard M. Jelleme, Inc., a construction company he ran successfully for 40 years. Under his leadership, many young, skilled carpenters were mentored and ultimately inspired to start their own ventures. His dedication to the community was evident in his service on numerous boards, including the Finance Committee, and as the Commodore of the Maddequet Admiralty. In 1971, he and his then-wife Pamela, purchased a farm in central New Hampshire, where they raised their children while working the land.

In 1986 Howard surprised just about everyone by purchasing a vineyard in San Gimignano, Italy. True to character, he took it upon himself to learn viniculture and winemaking. In 1999, his passion and hard work resulted in the establishment of the San Lorenzo winery, which exported much of its wine back to the United States, where, not surprisingly, it found its way into the Nantucket Wine Festival.

In 2005, Howard and Robin returned to the US, bringing his love for growing grapes back with him. Shortly after his arrival back home he resurrected the vineyard in NH, where he made a remarkable wine that he took great joy in sharing with friends and family.

Howard touched many lives with his friendship and curiosity. His zest for life was evident in his diverse interests and hobbies. He was a lifelong learner, always exploring new things - farming, Italian, accordion playing and joining the Catholic church. He was an inspiration to all who knew him and encouraged the fulfillment of your passion by putting your full heart and effort into all you do.

He finally “retired” to Key Colony Beach Florida, where he basked in the Florida sunshine, indulged his love for fishing, and amazed onlookers with his exceptional bocce skills. Among so much else, he was a devoted reader and a proud father, finding great pleasure in his children's accomplishments.

Howard is survived by his wife Robin, and his children Jan Jelleme, Carl Jelleme, Lisa Jelleme-Miller, Kristina Jelleme, Paddy Nicholls, Meg Miller, John Welch, and Victoria Chase, along with their partners and many wonderful grandchildren.

A graveside service & celebration of life will be held in Nantucket on September 14, 2024 at the Maddequet Admiralty.

In lieu of flowers please make a donation in Howard’s name to a charity of your choice.

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