ROBERT LEE HOWARD
Born: March 12, 1927 in Jamestown, N.D.
Passed: July 2019
THELMA EVELYN WILDER HOWARD
Born: Feb. 10, 1929, in Selma, Ore.
Passed: Dec. 21, 2018
Celebrated 73 years together a lifetime of moments, rough roads and joyous memories. Their union has welcomed a legacy 64 lives; two children, as well as daughters-in-law, grandchildren and their spouses, great-grandchildren and their spouses.
Bob and Thelma’s love started with a moment at the Bingen Theater when the usher sat Thelma and her best friend beside Bob and his friend. She was 13, Bob was 16. Their second date was to the Glenwood Rodeo with Bob and his family.
His parents, George and Bertha Howard, moved from North Carolina when Bob was just 5 years old. Bob grew up on Spring Creek Road just out of Husum. Twenty of the children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren still reside near the property where Bob was raised.
Bob was the third of five siblings. He grew up with two older sisters, Dorothy and Ruby, and two younger brothers, Jimmy and Willie Howard. They worked the family farm together milking cows and haying with mules.
Thelma was the youngest of nine, six brothers, Marvel, Ray, Keith, Harry, Roy, Gene, and two sisters, Elmira, and Babe. Her mom, Eva Dean Wilder and dad, Rufus Alfonso Wilder moved from Selma, Ore., to Husum in 1942 to run the gas station and store, currently Wet Planet Rafting.
Just three years after their chance seating at the theater, Bob and Thelma married young, on Nov. 3,1945, in Stevenson, and grew up together. They welcomed their first son Melvin Lynn Howard into their home May 18, 1947. Two years later their second son, Ricky Dale Howard, was born on Oct. 3, 1949. They raised their boys and Appaloosa horses at the end of Willow Lane in Husum, near Thelma’s sister, Elmira, and her family.
Bob’s passion was his family and his horses. He shared and passed these loves down to his children and grandchildren. He spent many hours riding and caring for his beloved horses with his family.
Bob was a patient, loving father. He was a smart, resourceful, mechanically minded man. Specialty tools needed for the farm were crafted rather than purchased. When money was tight duct tape, bailing twine, and bacon grease were ingeniously used to keep the machinery going strong. His kids and grandkids loved to work alongside him.
Thelma’s passion was her family and making her home beautiful and welcoming to everyone. She built coffee tables from wood and rocks she found. She planted flowers, beautifully landscaping her yard. She spent countless hours playing and recording music in her living-room recording studio.
Like Bob, her family was always invited to join her in her pursuits. Her children and many of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren enjoy her same love of music and gardening and rock collecting. She loved playing with the Old Time Fiddlers of White Salmon and at the local Senior Center.
Professionally, Bob worked over 30 years driving log truck for SD&S Lumber Company. He retired in 1989. Thelma delivered mail up State Route 141 nearly 25 years for the United States Post Office retiring in 1992. They spent many of their retirement years traveling the country in their RV, seeing nearly every state in the union while maintaining deep connections with their children, grandchildren and community.
Together, they enjoyed a life of camping, traveling and time with their friends and family. Many times, they would get home from work, load up the horses and head out. Or they would plan a trip across the country to see a state they hadn’t yet.
Thelma collected rocks and Bob collected horses.
Bob and Thelma became the nucleus of their large family hosting countless picnics, Thanksgiving dinners, music jam sessions, farm work parties, and good, family fun. It was not uncommon to have 50 or more family members present for one of these fun times.
The entire family is very appreciative of the loving support, and help from our Heart of Hospice team, nurses Donita and Jessalyn, our aids Bobby and Lisa, Pastor Joe, as well as our respite caregivers Angela and Donna.
Bob and Thelma Howard will be missed but have left a legacy of love for the generations to come!
Memorial services will be held at a later date.