Howard Edward White was born to Francis Coleman “Beeb” White and Barbara Dean
White (Combs) on September 10, 1952. In the early hours of February 1, Howard
was the 31st person in Humboldt to be taken too soon by COVID-19.
Howard was a proud member of the Yurok Tribe. He grew up in Orick with his older siblings David, Hazel and Karen. Even though Howard has a younger sister Joyce he was still always treated as the baby. To this day his mother still calls him “My Baby Boy.”
When Howard graduated from 8th grade Orick was a Mill Town with four working lumber mills around it. He always joked that there were more kids in his class than the whole school now.
After he graduated from McKinleyville high school in 1971 he moved to Washington state and married his high school sweetheart Ruby Lewis. Ruby’s older brother Rodger Lee Lewis also moved to Washington and worked with Howard as long shoremen. Howard and Rod (Rodger) enjoyed working along side Howard’s beloved stepfather, Oscar Combs.
Howard and Ruby took on the role of raising Ruby’s first niece Michelle Lewis (Mead) who was born in June of ‘73.
In the mid ‘70s Howard moved his family back to Humboldt County.
In April of ‘76 Howard and Ruby welcomed their son Joshua Jon White. At that time Howard was working as a woodsmen/logger and had worked for a few different local logging companies. In March of ‘79 they were blessed with the birth of their daughter Eunice Yvonne White (Oquist) who was named Eunice after Howard’s grandmother and Yvonne after Ruby’s mothers middle name. Howard loved his grandmother very much and went to her house every weekend to do work around her house and make sure her wood box was full. Every hunting seasons Howard would fill his grandmother’s freezer.
Howard’s grandparents Edward & Eunice White were both Yurok story tellers and they passed their stories onto their son Francis Beeb White who in turn passed the love of storytelling onto his granddaughter Eunice (Oquist).
Howard’s grandmother Eunice was recovering in Mad River Hospital from celebrating her 90th birthday a little too hard when Little Eunice was born only two days after she turned 90. Howard was so proud when he wheeled his grandmother up to the glass so she could get a glance at her namesake.
Howard and Ruby took their children all the time up to see their great grandmother Eunice who lived in an old house built above the mouth of Redwood Creek in Orick. His grandmother loved having her name live on and adored her great-granddaughter Eunice no matter how much of a brat she was (and still is) for Eunice was the baby and just like her father she took that roll very seriously.
Howard would tell you his “Life Changing Experiences” was when he drove across country with some friends to South Dakota to see a Sun Dance.
Howard wasn’t a very tall guy but he was strong and he boxed in his 20s calling himself The Crow but his friends called him The Creeper behind his back because he would get his short frame down so low and creep around the ring that it was really hard to hit him. He did win a lot of fights but he never liked that name.
In the early ‘80s Howard and Ruby divorced. They parted on pretty good terms the only thing they fight about was the family dog Arrow. Ruby would say years later that there was no question of course she was going to take the kids but she also wanted the dog but, in the end, Howard got Arrow who was also a boxer.
Howard met his best friend Major Cook in the first grade. Howard and Major were lifelong friends until Major passed away a few years ago. There are hundreds of stories about the crazy things Howard and Major did “Back in the good old days” but very few that can be repeated.
After Howard’s divorce, he moved back to Orick to be closer to his father Beeb White. At that time Howard worked for the U.S. Parks until he retired. Even though Howard never remarried he did have a 30-year relationship with Betty Ann McCovey who later passed away in 2011. Howard and Betty Ann loved shooting pool and both of them were very excellent pool players. Pool was one of his favorite hobbies. Howard joked that he never met a barstool that he didn’t like.
Late in life Howard find himself lost and need help and turned to his ex-wife. Ruby agreed that he could stay at her house but in the living room and only for a few months, but that ended up being years. Howard would go to Cher-Ae Heights every single day. The Firewater Lounge became his home away from home. He would get there as soon as the bar opened in the afternoon and would stay there at the Heights sipping on his beer and playing his favorite slot machines and eating all his meals in the Sunrise Deli. 365 days a year for the past decade Howard could be found wondering around Cher-Ae Heights Casino. Howard liked talking to anyone even if he didn’t know them. If he knew your favorite sports team was playing, he would sit near you and cheer as loud as he could for the other team. Howard liked to push people’s buttons and enjoyed annoying people every day. Howard was preceded in death by his father Francis Coleman “Beeb” White his grandparents Ed & Eunice White his older sisters Karen Vice and Hazel Freeman. Close cousin Diane Nelson and as he would say “favorite cousin in the whole world” Glenna Beaver.
Howard leaves behind his children Joshua “Bear” White and Eunice Oquist (White) His only grandchild Alexa Oquist. His brother David White Sr Sister Joyce Rangila. Nieces & Nephews Michelle, Shannon, David Jr, Barbara, Shaunana, Christopher, Timothy, Robert, Ryan and Ashley. Aunt Gloria Shuster and numerous other family members.
Howard’s favorite person has always been his mother or as he would say “My Mama.” Howard leaves behind his loving and caring mother Barbara Dean Combs. He would call his mother every year on his birthday so she could sing to him and wish him a happy birthday.
His family would like to send a special thank you to all the wonderful staff at Mad River ICU for the care and compassion, they have shown Howard in his last days.
Howard’s family would also like to thank Ayres Family Cremation for all the help in this hard time.
A memorial service will be held at Cher-Ae Heights Casino’s Firewater Lounge on Friday, Feb. 12, 4 p.m. to midnight.
Because of COVID guidelines we are asking that people stop by between the hours of 4 p.m. to midnight to see photos of his life sign the book and maybe have a beer in his memory.
Howard’s family would like to thank all of his Cher-Ae Heights bartender’s past and present and all of the workers who were Howard’s.
The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Howard White’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.