July 9, 2020
Colonel (Retired USAF) George H. Howard died peacefully in Tacoma, Washington on May 28, 2020, at the age of 85.
George is survived by his second wife Mary Kay; his children, Debra Howard, Cori Govostis (Chris), Stacia Gustafson (Joel); his stepchildren, Sandy Surabian (Tim) and Stacy Cataneo (Ralph); and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. As the surviving patriarch of the Howard family, he is also survived by several nieces and nephews and their respective families. George was preceded in death by his first wife, Elizabeth (Betsy) Ogden Howard and his son Keith Philip Howard.
George was born on the family ranch in St. John, Washington, on November 14, 1934, to Philip and Corrinne Howard. He graduated from St. John High School and headed to Washington State University where he was a member of the Sigma Nu Fraternity. In December of 1956, George married his junior high sweetheart, Betsy, and graduated in 1957 with a degree in Political Science and commission in the United States Air Force. The family lived in Japan, Hawaii, Texas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Virginia, Ohio, New Mexico, Montana and Washington during his 20+ year career in the USAF. George received his MBA from Harvard University in 1967 then headed overseas to Viet Nam for a year during this time as well.
When George retired from the Air Force in 1978, the family relocated to Evergreen, Colorado, for several years. George, along with dear friends Bill Barrett and Bill Kluck, opened their consulting company HBK Associates in the early 80's. The firm then took the family to Montana and eventually back to Washington state until George officially retired in his early 70's. George remarried and he and Mary Kay traveled through the United States, to Germany to see her daughter and family, to Michigan to see Mary Kay's sisters, and cruises to Alaska and through the Panama Canal. George managed to set foot on five of the seven continents, a dream he had for many years. George also served as the president of Howard Farms (the "Ranch") following the passing of his mother. In 2017 George was diagnosed with ALS and stepped down from that role although he remained a key advisor to the family corporation until the day he passed.
George is remembered by many as the one that got things done while remaining a kind and caring person. He often had "small world" experiences with just about anyone he would encounter. He was also an avid WSU Cougar and held Eastern Washington and Priest Lake, Idaho, close to his heart. He held many positions through high school, college and into later years with FAA, Young Republicans, Shriners, Masons and other philanthropic organizations. He served on the boards of Silver Lake Winery and Fish Brewing Company for many years while in Washington and was also active in his church in Auburn (Good Samaritan Episcopal Church) until he and Mary Kay moved to Tacoma in 2016.
A celebration of George's life and burial with full military honors will be held at a later date in St. John, Washington. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the ALS Association, the American Cancer Society, or Shriners Hospital. Please visit the online guest book to share your thoughts and memories of George at http://www.legacy.com/dignity-memorial/obituary.aspx?mid=9199819.