BLOOMINGTON - A former commander of the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center and former chief executive officer of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce has died. Steve Howard, who served in the U.S. Navy for 37 years, held degrees from Purdue University and Indiana University. He retired from naval service in 1994 and soon became head of the chamber in Bloomington until his retirement in 2005. Howard was 78.

An online obituary for Howard posted by Allen Funeral Home and Crematory in Bloomington says the California native moved frequently while serving the country and he "especially valued putting down roots in the Bloomington community and having the opportunity to volunteer with several local organizations." It goes on to say "he was a principled, straightforward man, with a larger-than-life personality, and he had a lasting impact on his family, friends, and colleagues."

In a post on its Facebook page, the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce said "today our thoughts are with the family and friends of Steve Howard. Steve served as CEO and President of The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce several years ago, and was a strong advocate for local business."

There are no immediate plans for a memorial service, which his obituary says is in line with Howard's wishes.