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Gerald Wesley Howard, 83, of Baker City, Oregon died at his home on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 with his wife at his side. A private family interment was held at Sumpter Masonic Cemetery. A Celebration of Jerry’s life will be held on Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at Blue Mountain Baptist Church in Baker City.
Gerald “Jerry” was born October 1, 1935 in Boise, Idaho to parents Elbert and Ruth Howard and joined siblings Mary, Buzz, Robert and Ken. His sister could not pronounce her brother’s name, so she called him "Bubba" instead, a nickname he carried throughout his life.
Jerry grew up in Sumpter, Or. He had many fond memories of visiting his dad while he was working at the gold dredge and of his mother bringing lunch while they played on the dredge. He had a beautiful tenor voice and he sang over the radio and high school choir. His class of 1954 meant so much to him and even recently, he talked of being a Yell Duke singing during high school years.
After graduation he went to work at Bates Sawmill. Early one morning he did not show up to work, which was unusual, so a phone trace was put out. They searched for him and found that his 1948 Ford had run off a sharp curve this side of Unity dam. He was transported by an ambulance which unfortunately broke down on the way to the Baker hospital. It was hours before he was brought to hospital and was transferred to Boise, Idaho where he remained in a coma for 21 days. Later, after some recuperation, he recalled being lead to “Lord Jesus” by Charlie Wright of Calvary Baptist Church. He always shared that he knew that was why he came through the car wreck. He also said, it was so that I could find you, love (Viola).
He later went to Oakland, California and worked at the Fred Finch home for boys and Mission work. After a few years, he moved back to Baker and worked for the U.S. Forest Service and Dick Culley was his crew boss in 1997.
Jerry attended Oregon tech, graduating in 1958 in auto and diesel technology 2018 and attend the Golden Owl Reunion some 40 alumni attended dressed in golden gowns and caps and symbol of the Owl This tradition of pride was shared among the alumni.
Jerry met Viola in Smith River, Ca. They married in his parents’ home on June 5, 1970 and made their first home in Brooking, Oregon where he worked for schools 1970-1981.
He started his own janitorial and maintenance business. He had a large number of businesses he maintained including UPS, the Post Office and many shopping centers. They bought property in Harbor, Or. and attended the First Baptist Community Church for 35 years where he served as a Deacon and an Elder on nominating committees. Jerry also did janitorial work, but most important he sang in the Church Choir. Both he and Viola were baptized in the Chetco River with their church family attending. There are always trials-struggles in life and Jerry overcome with the guidance of the Lord.
They moved back to Baker City, September 5, 2005. Jerry became the President of Dredge in Sumpter where he contributed many volunteer hours to both the Dredge and Cracker Creek Museum. “He was the best husband. Never a day went by that he told me he loved me and I was beautiful. We were planning our “Golden” 50th anniversary, but the Lord Jesus Christ called him home. He will forever be in my heart.”
He was preceded in death by his parents Stub and Ruth; sister Mary Morin; brothers Robert Howard and Ken Howard.
Jerry is survived by his wife Viola; brother Buzz Howard; niece Debbie DeMastus; many grandchildren and great grands; numerous nephews, nieces, cousins; bonus family Mark Jr., Debbie and her husband Wright, Randy and his wife Michelle.
For those who would like to make a memorial donation in memory of Bubba, the family suggests the Blue Mountain Baptist Church or Community Connections Senior Center through Tami's Pine Valley Funeral Home & Cremation Services PO Box 543 Halfway, Oregon 97834. Online condolences may be shared at www.tamispinevalleyfuneralhome.com