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The man known as "Old Man Howlett" is the father of John Howlett, whom himself is the father of Wolverine.
He helped gather the fortune his son now inherited. Old man Howlett wanted to live out his last years in peace, living in the mansion with his son and grandson. Old Man Howlett was already a senior when young James Howlett was still a young boy. His grandfather had a strong no nonscence mentality and often classed with James' father.
After the massacre that left old man Howlett's son John murdered, and his daughter by law (James' mother) dead, he helped James and long time friend Rose fleeing the mansion, giving them money to leave. Old man Howlett thought James to be somehow, but unwillingly, part of the massacre. Years later, the Old Man lay on his deathbed and had a change of sight. He wanted to find his grandson back, in order to keep the family name going. He had Dog (son of Thomas Logan, the person who started the massacre in the mansion many years ago) track James and Rose down to bring them home. This was however misinterpreted-ed by Dog, who sought to find and bring the pair back by whatever means. How and when Old Man Howlett died was never told, although it is fairly certain he never again saw his grandson, James Howlett, aka Wolverine.
Earth-4011 (Wolverine The End)
For more information see:Wolverine: The End
In this reality John and Elizabeth's first son John Howlett Jr. didn't die mysterious, instead he got angry at his mother, Elizabeth and cut her with his claws. John Sr didn't know what to do, but the Old Man promised to take care of the boy. He took John Jr, to a mental hospital and left him there. It is unclear if the Old Man ever told his son where he took their son.