Swine Flu victim remembered during football game

Michael Howse
Michael Howse

By Jason Miles - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC-TV) - Fans filling the stadium at CBHS observed a moment of silence Friday night before the White Station Spartans and Christian Brothers clashed on the field.

"Especially for Michael Howse," said the announcer. "An eight grader from White Station Middle School."

The 13-year-old would have been in the stands if Swine Flu had not taken his life earlier this week.

"He loved football, he loved sports, loved people," said his cousin. Keondre Turner.

Turner told us Michael would be smiling.

"Always smiling," he added.

Turner wore a black shirt to the ballgame along with dozens of others.

"Just to mourn for him and know we're going to see him again someday," said friend Jackson Fuson.

White t-shirts were worn by some, on which messages like "gone but not forgotten" were written.  Black ribbons featured Michael's jersey number, 20.

"He loved the football team and White Station," said friend Nicholas Bushart.

It was during football practice at White Station Middle School Monday that teammates were informed of Michael's death.

He was sick for just a few days before becoming the first in Shelby County to die from the H1N1 Virus, or Swine Flu.

"It makes you think about your life and how you want to spend it - the time on this earth," said Bushart.

Classmates and teammates, including his cousin, told me they will cherish their memories of Michael.

"He was the best," said his cousin.

They said they will also remember him for his smile, kind nature, and love of football.

Michael Howse's funeral is set for Saturday afternoon at 2:00pm.  White Station Middle School plans to retire his number.

Copyright 2009 WMC-TV. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.