Obituary of Howard Joseph Levasseur Jr.
Howard Joseph Levasseur Jr. of Winter Haven, Fl passed away on March 28th, 2023 at the age of 83.
Howard was born on August 23, 1939 in Bangor, ME to Francis LeVasseur (Lodge) and Howard LeVasseur Sr.
Howard came from humble beginnings, growing up in public housing in Atlanta, Ga. After graduating from Roosevelt High School, he enrolled at Emory University. He completed a year of pre medical studies, then decided to enlist in the United States Marine Corp (USMC) on May 16, 1957. He completed basic training at Parris Island, SC and was then transferred to Camp Lejune, NC where he ranked 2nd in his class at NCO leadership school. During his 3 years as an active Marine he spent time in Okinawa, and Singapore, before an honorable discharge. He then returned to his college studies, this time at Georgia State University, as a geology major. It was here, in political science class, that he met his first wife, Michal LeVasseur (Swenson), and accompanied her to Georgia State University Homecoming where she was named Homecoming Queen. His studies spearheaded a lifelong love for chemistry, archeology, Native American history and geology. In 1964 he studied geology in field school at the Colorado School of Mines, something he remained proud of the remainder of his life.
Howard and Michal married on August 22, 1964 in a ceremony at Sacred Heart Church in Atlanta, GA. From this marriage, one daughter was born in 1975, Ryan LeVasseur.
While still in Atlanta, Howard took his first job in 1965 at Nopco Chemical as a sales representative for the Southeast. Several years later, Howard and Michal relocated to Atlantic Beach in Jacksonville, FL where he took a job as a chemical sales representative for Nalco Chemical Co., specializing in water treatment and paper mill process aids. In 1968, he embarked on his career as an entrepreneur, co-founding Arroyo Process Equipment. Howard then founded ARR-MAZ Products in 1978, and sold it in 1997. In 1989, Howard was honored as a finalist for “Entrepreneur of the Year” by INC. magazine.
After a brief retirement, Howard realized his love and dedication to business pursuits was still his passion. VASS Holdings was founded by Howard as an investment company seeking opportunities in the chemical industry. Howard purchased SSC Industries in East Point, GA in December 2002 through his enterprise VASS Holdings. He remained the CEO, and continued to brainstorm new and exciting possibilities in the chemical processing industry. Howard treated and cared about his employees like family, finding great pride in the hard working and dedicated people who worked with him for many years. He was proud of his low employee turn over and could tell you about every single employee and their families. His feeling about his career are best summarized in a quote he loved to share, “if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life.”
In 1967, while living in Jacksonville, Howard turned his love for cars into a passion for racing cars. Starting in a Lotus 17, he progressed to a Triumph Spitfire and finally to a Formula Ford. His success in racing with Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) led to sponsorship from St. Petersburg Sports Car Center. Many of his most beloved times and memories centered on his racing career, including setting a lap record in his class at Indianapolis Speedway and seeing his name in lights at Daytona for a first place win with SCCA racing.
Howard went on to marry Amanda Levasseur, his second wife, and had three children.
A beloved father, son, friend, and business man, Howard defined Renaissance Man. He was a gifted entrepreneur and leader, outdoor enthusiast, well read, and an avid lover of travel, music and theatre. He spent much of his younger years backpacking in The Rockies, scuba diving, water skiing, snow skiing in Utah, boating, and of course never missed getting lobster during sportsman season in The Florida Keys. During his life he served as countless Board of Directors, and dedicated time and effort to many charitable causes.
Howard is preceded in death by his mother, Fran LeVasseur, and father, Howard LeVasseur Sr.
He is survived by his children, Ryan LeVasseur, Elise LeVasseur, Lissette LeVasseur, Lara Levasseur, and his grandchildren, Liam Thomas, Kaden Thomas, Kamiah Adams, beloved pets, countless friends and business associates.
From his favorite book, Atlas Shrugged, he most confidently would say “I started my life with a single absolute: that the world was mine to shape in the image of my highest values and never to be given up to a lesser standard, no matter how long or hard the struggle.”
In lieu of flowers please consider a memorial donation in honor of Howard to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, a place he held fondly in his heart from childhood.
All are welcome to join of us for a Celebration of Life at Cypress Woods Club House, 1099 Clubhouse Rd Winter Haven, FL, on April 30th between 2-5pm.To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Howard Levasseur Jr., please visit Tribute Store