Wil Howe

May 21, 2023


With great sadness, but ultimate joy in the completeness of a life well lived, our beloved Wil Howe, the legend, the myth, the horseman… died in the loving arms of Beverly his love, soulmate, wife and partner in life for 46 years, at their home ranch, log cabin front room, surrounded by friends, loved ones and his recent & loyal caregivers Sunday evening May 21st 2023.

Wil, was oh, so ready to receive his Savior’s arms & shelter after a 2 ½ year diagnosis of stage 4 Prostate Cancer, advancing Vascular Dementia and most recent & painful, lower back L4 & L5 herniated discs that culminated in a speedy exit, a merciful, return home in peace, one that all would hope for.

Through it all, ever resilient, his positive attitude, humble and kind demeanor refined by the Lord, Wil expressed the gentleness and kindness of character that permeated his entire life, and thus, he graced us with his meaningful words of truth and grand sense of humor. Wil endured with grace, strength and dignity, enjoying these last few years with Beverly at the Home Ranch in Richland. Most recently they shared an adventurous 5 1/5 week vacation in March & April this year, returning in their Mini Motorhome to their new favorite spot, Mesquite, Nevada. Exploring the Red Rocks of Utah’s parks and boondock camping on the desert among the Joshua trees. Wil held the fort down while Beverly hit the trails with her two horses & Katie Dog.

“What more could one ask for?”…we squeezed all we could out of this life well lived, we truly had a ball, praising God all the while. A promise he made to me before it all began was… “ I promise you life won’t be a bore, Babe, if you’d just walk through that door.” Wil kept that promise to me for 46 years and I have been blessed beyond measure ever since…

As are all of you, who have crossed Wil’s trail and received his love, wisdom, & spiritual encouragement, you are his beneficiaries. Most received these life lessons here at his horse training schools, mentored by him or by the years of owning & riding one of his hand-picked & personally trained bridle-horse geldings.

If you made it past the ranch front gate, you were getting ready for a life changing experience with Wil. The School of Fine Horse Training and his good geldings that branded our business were an avenue for change for so many. No pretenses, all guards down. Honesty and integrity were the foundation for his huge capacity to connect with all walks of life and share what he called being...real with others. He believed that “As you think, so are you…”, “What you put out is what you get back”, “As you sow, so shall you reap” in life and horses.

As we ponder this loss, leaving a gaping hole in our hearts, let us fill it back up with the joy Wil gave us. Honor him by seeking to “get it right” with our Creator and all get ready to receive Jesus in our hearts this life…. because as Wil would put it… “It’s time for the big round pen session coming, and we ought to know by now how to give it up, lick our lips and follow the Master.”

I will be writing more on Wil’s incredible journey & life of faith… from hot rods to horses, outlaw cowboy & horseman to trendsetter and… Jesus Freak always.

Please call, write, stay in touch, video a story and if you can, join us at the Home Ranch Saturday, September 16th, 2023, for Wil’s Celebration of Life Shin Dig of Music, Faith & Memories. Friday, September 15th, Beverly will be riding in the famous Pendleton Round Up -Wagons Ho Parade leading Wil’s personal horse “Waldo,” with his 1800’s saddle & gear he rode on “Blue Boy,” and a pair of his tall top cowboy boots in honorary Calvary fashion, will be hung backwards off the saddle.

Please join us for this Celebration. If you have never seen the Pendleton Round Up, get your tickets now! and make it a vacation out West for this. It’s a 2 1/2 hour drive from Richland, and Boise, ID, is our closest major airport, though some flights do go to Pendleton. You are welcome to spend Friday and Saturday nights with us or locally. We have some bunkhouse accommodations at the ranch, RV parking and camping available in the pasture and barnyard, local Motel and Air B&Bs and RV parks are in both Richland & Halfway. RVSP is appreciated by September 1st. Its going to be a reunion, casual in nature, and a lot of fun, memories and a potluck to be held on Saturday, September 16, 2023 - 1:00 p.m. - at the Howe Ranch. 

Let’s Honor …The Man…The Beard & The Boots… The Legend… Wil Howe


Wil Howe
Wil Howe, 81, passed into his Savior’s arms peacefully at his log cabin home in Richland, Oregon on May 21, 2023 surrounded by friends and his wife of 46 years, Beverly. His last 30 years were spent in Eagle Valley.
Wil was born in Oklahoma August 16, 1941. His family moved to the San Joaquin Valley of California with the migration of “Oakies” settling in a small farming community in Kern County. Raised on a “one-horse farm,” his father ran a bull breeding business to keep local dairy cows fresh and his mother waitressed and drove a school bus to make ends meet.Wil spent his days tending to the daily farm chores, collecting and washing eggs they sold, milking the cow, helping in the garden and churning butter. Wil loved the animals and had his share of pets, raising rats, pigeons and quail. And he helped his father raise Doberman Pinschers out of a German World War II war dog, having up to 14 puppies on the farm. Animals were Wil’s escape, especially Tony “the Wonder Horse,” who Wil rode extensively to the swimming hole, playing cowboys and Indians with his friends, later riding him some 14 miles each way to visit his girlfriend. Always bareback, they didn’t own a saddle. This love of animals and his gift as a trainer became evident later in his life when he raised and trained his most favorite animal ever, over all his great horses, “Blue Boy,” the 2,400-pound Brahma steer he
rode in all the rodeo parades during the 1990s. They had a very special relationship.
Wil was not fond of school, which interrupted his chores and time with the animals, and he found it a waste of time. His attitude only worsened and he was kicked out of school at the beginning of ninth grade for not shaving the few whiskers he had on his face. His beard would become something that caused him problems, loss of jobs and acceptance throughout most of his life, but ultimately became his trademark. Wil left home at 15 and began a long list of odd jobs to stay alive. Working in the fields alongside Mexican farm workers was familiar to him as he’d started working at age 11 so he could buy himself better school clothes and not have to wear his patched farm overalls. Early on, a distinct set of values was instilled to work hard to get something he wanted. From farm fields and orchards, dishwashing jobs to chicken egg ranches, turkey farms, chicken processing plants, cola bottling companies, onto cement mixer trucking outfits to floating oil derricks off the coast of Santa Barbara and finally ending with a five-year stint as top driver with a trucking company driving doubles in the building of the subdivisions of Los Angeles in southern California in the 1960s.
During these years Wil's passion turned from animals to fast car hot rods. In one door from work, and out the other to the garage to work on his cars, eventually owning up to 11 cars at one time, and acquiring 32 traffic tickets in one year with a charge account at the local courthouse! He was into it. The best, the fastest and terrorized the weekend racers on the Saturday night strips, wagering country road drag races that he was undefeated at, driving his “sleeper,” a hopped- up customized ’50s Oldsmobile, unheard of. Eventually, he was setting track records at Santa Monica Raceway. Having had enough of this wild lifestyle, the Lord knocking at his heart, Wil gave it up, sold his new ’67 Corvette Stingray and Triumph chopper motorcycle and headed to Colorado to become a “cowboy.”
He started out breaking broncs, shoeing and cowboying on ranches and moved about the West for the next 10 years, including spending time in the wilds of British Columbia buying and selling horses; he eventually ended up on the track working as a licensed Quarter Horse race horse trainer with a knack of taking problem horses and getting them back in the money, and having success with a handful of top winners. It was in 1977 he fell head over heels and eloped and married the true love of his life, Beverly. They spent seven years in Sisters, Oregon, built the first spec log home in the area selling it in 1980. Meanwhile, he expanded his talents for training and selling geldings, having had the high selling geldings throughout the Northwest at all the West’s major horse
sales, including later, at the prestigious Red Bluff Bull and Gelding Sale where he topped the sale for five years in row. During the ’80s, Wil opened his public training stable with his wife Beverly, and son, Samson. Moving to Medford, Oregon in 1984 and then on to the Lincoln, California area in 1987, running Wil Howe Reining Stables. He was training all breeds and disciplines of horses, but Wil’s passion was in the reined cow horses, and he successfully trained and showed at the national level and pursued cutting as well, competing at the West’s major aged events. Known for his unique style and as a gifted communicator with horses and people, Wil began teaching. Having a special approach to his horses through horse psychology, Wil was one of the first in his field to share the effective concepts of training that are so prevalent and popular in today’s methods. You could call him a true pioneer in the clinician movement back in 1983, before they ever called them “Horse Whisperers” or clinicians. He actually resented the term when it came out. He always said, “If you’re going to whisper to a horse, you have to have his attention first!” As the years passed, people began to seek Wil out for his knowledge and uncanny ability to convey his message easily and get results in both horses and his students. Wil and Beverly worked as team and traveled the Northwest and California, teaching in their clinics, sharing Wil’s methods in ground work, problem horse solving, colt starting and advancing the horses through the finished bridle. Wil made a vow to Beverly he wouldn’t get caught up in California. Though the training business was good and thriving, he wanted to return to Oregon and to cowboy country. He always loved eastern Oregon, and they landed in the quaint community of New Bridge and started from scratch here in 1992. Traveling to make a living the first few years doing their clinics, they eventually built up their training facility on their 20-acre horse ranch to accommodate teaching from home. “Build it and they will come” and they did.
Wil’s School of Fine Horse Training opened in 1994 where he held week-long classes and training apprentice programs. He produced a series of training DVDs and carried a full line of retail training tack and gear. Wil was always a visionary, ahead of the curve, even began marketing his geldings for sale by videoing them and sending the VHS tapes off to prospective clients, something he started doing back in 1988, again unheard of, ahead of the times, and he had a website by 1994 when the Internet was just getting going. His students sought him out from all over the country, Australia and Europe. Wil made a lasting impact in the NRCHA world as he shared his passion for the reined cow horse sport during his years of teaching and mentoring young trainers.
Eventually expanding their operations, Wil and Beverly built in southeast Arizona and ran the business from there in the winter months from 2000 to 2020. All along, in conjunction with the classes and teaching, with Beverly at his side, they worked together selling Wil’s  coveted, highly trained all around bridle horses. Wil was a people person and a man of integrity and was known for his
sterling reputation in the horse world as a source for the best geldings in the West. He was truly a trendsetter as today’s market has proven.
For 30 years Wil enjoyed his time here in the Panhandle. Sticking to himself, actually a very private and reclusive mountain man and homebody, though he led a very public life and had a captivating personality. A very distinctive man with his beard, trademark tall topped cowboy boots and leather vest, Wil was never without a smile or encouraging word. He loved talking about his mother and father, delivering his son, the day he met Beverly, good horses and Bue Boy his pet Brahma steer and especially spiritual truths Jesus taught, relating the gospel to horse training. Teaching came
naturally to him and every day was full of life lessons he shared to no end.
He was a devoted, and loving husband, a dear friend, mentor and brother to many, sharing himself wholeheartedly with his grand sense of humor and, giving people his greatest gift, his faith and love of the Lord. He leaves only his wife Beverly; son Samson Howe; daughter-in-law Dee Howe, and many endearing friends, brothers and sisters in Christ.
A celebration of life memorial will be held Saturday September 16 at 1:00 p.m. with potluck to follow until 4:00 p.m. at Wil Howe Ranch in New Bridge, 35768 Governor Lane. Bring chairs if possible, but hay bales will be available. Music provided by the The Locals and Friends. Donations may be made in Wil Howe’s name to the NRCHA Foundation at


Friends and family have shared their relationship to show their support.
How do you know Wil Howe?
We are sorry for your loss.
Help others honor Wil's memory.


A Celebration Of Life
September 16, 2023

1:00 PM
Howe Ranch
35768 Governor Lane
Richland, OR 97870


© 2023 Tami's Pine Valley Funeral Home and Cremation Services. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS & TA | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Accessibility