Many people in the Geneseo area and beyond are mourning the sudden, shocking death of Amy M. Howard, 51, who lost her life in a house fire Saturday, Dec. 24, 2022, at her Geneseo home. 

Her loyal and brave dog Goose went back into the home to try to save her and will now always be by her side, according to her online obituary. About 11:42 p.m. Friday, Dec. 23, a 911 caller said there was a structure fire in a single-family home in the 500 block of North Meadow Street.

A memorial service for Howard will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 29, at Vandemore Funeral Homes & Crematory – Geneseo Chapel. A memorial visitation will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. prior to the memorial service.

Amy Howard recently found her calling as activity director for Hillcrest Home, a Geneseo nursing home (photo courtesy of Vandemore Funeral Homes).

Memorials may be directed to QC Paws, 4001 78th Avenue, Moline, IL 61265, and a GoFundMe account established in her honor HERE. As of Tuesday, the online fundraiser already has collected $16,485 for her family.

Howard was born in Clinton, Iowa, and graduated from Camanche High School, class of 1989.  On Jan. 23, 1999, Amy married Neal Howard at The Little Chapel of Flowers in Las Vegas. She recently found her calling as the activity director at Hillcrest Home – Geneseo.

“She was made for this role and Hillcrest Home will not be the same without her,” the obituary says. Amy chose to call her residents “friends” and treated them like family. She absolutely cherished her time at Hillcrest.

Howard also was a talented artist and photographer. She photographed many events, families and nature in and around Geneseo. She passionately supported her loving children Cole and Piper in every sport, theater production, musical or endeavor they participated in. Cole, Piper and Goose were Amy’s whole world, the obituary said.

Howard and her kids, Cole and Piper, as part of a memorial tribute slideshow on the Vandemore Funeral Homes website.

Hillcrest Home, a Geneseo nursing home on Illinois 82, posted Monday on Facebook:

“It is with heavy hearts that we must announce that we have lost an important member of our team here at Hillcrest. Amy served our residents well as our Activity Director. She will be missed dearly.”

Co-worker Caryn Kelley posted on the funeral home tribute wall:

“I’ve only known Amy for less than a year through us working together at Hillcrest and the news today was such a complete sad shock. She brought so much love and light and joy to her job at Hillcrest, I will miss seeing her every week. My heart goes out to her children and other family members, and Hillcrest residents and staff, for this enormous loss.”