Hi Mary, the fact is that I have always heard of my uncle as named Elmer. There are some people who change their names around to suit their mood for the day. My brother-in-law is one. J. Gill, or James, or Jim, or Gill! There is some feeling that my uncle may have chosen the Howard to be his given name over the more rube-like Elmer. Thank you for the info that you posted. I will stick by the "E" for a middle name. The "C" does not fit nor does the mother's name. And, Illinois is the birthplace.
As for the informant, sometimes that is a bereaved person or someone more remote and they do give mis-leading info on death certificates such as my grandfather's family giving Baden-Baden as his birthplace. Turned out to be Biedenkopf in Hesse.