Howard Wayne Lee April 24, 1933 — August 8, 2015
Howard Wayne Lee, 82 years of age, of Arlington, Washington passed away August 8, 2015 after dealing with numerous health issues.
Howard was born April 24, 1933 in Stilwell, Oklahoma. He was the second of seven children and oldest son of Marcus and Evelyn Lee. In 1944, the family relocated to Washington, where Marcus secured employment with Weyerhauser and settled in.
After a brief National Guard stint, on March 6, 1952, Howard enlisted in the US Navy as a fireman recruit. He later went on to become a veteran of Navy service, serving a total of 22 years. Howard was a Machinist Mate and was, over his career, attached to the USS Kearsarge, the USS McDermott, the
USS Preble and the USS Klondike. He served in the Korean conflict, received numerous decorations and ultimately became a Chief Petty Officer.
After a period of “pushing boots”, Howard retired from the Navy on
During Navy service, Howard was relocated to San Diego, California. It was there that he met the woman who would become his wife – Darlene Eimar. They
married on June 16, 1956 in National City, California, embarked on one of the steadiest marriages ever created, and started a family that included four children. Upon retirement from the Navy, Howard became the operator of Lee’s Highland Avenue Service, a Mobil service station in National City, California. While there, Howard met many wonderful people and was able to combine his love of having and fixing cars and a keen ability to work with
people to create a good and
In 1981, family matters became important and the family returned to Washington and settled in Arlington. Howard and Darlene purchased a house that required an extraordinary amount of work to make it habitable due to a previous house fire. Howard did a lot of scraping, drywall installation, painting and electrical work (which was never his favorite) and ultimately put together the beautiful house the family still lives in. Howard went
to work for EASE airport shuttle service in Everett, Washington for a short time before securing employment with Frontier Bank, also in Everett. Howard retired from Frontier and, ultimately, retired permanently. Howard was proud of his Indian heritage and its association with the Standing
Rock Tribe in the Sioux nation. He appreciated firearms, loved cars, took lessons to learn to play banjo and had a serious thing about two pocket shirts. He also had a somewhat offbeat taste for eclectic food items, such as clams and oysters, kipper snacks, pickled pigs feet, chicken gizzards and spaghetti with carrots in it. His drinks of choice ranged from Black Velvet and ginger ale to buttermilk – thankfully not at the same time.
He read every single Louis L’Amour western book ever written – sometimes more than once – on a Kindle, which was rarely out of reach. Howard would wear every crazy hat presented to him, made a mean batch of biscuits and gravy, and always, simply, wanted “a good cigar”.
Howard is survived by his sweetheart and wife of 59 years, Darlene; his children, Deborah (Ronald) Wilson of Everett, WA, Howard (Merrilee) Lee,
Jr. of Everett, WA, Randy Lee of Arlington, WA, and Brian (Chantale) Lee of Coquitlam, B.C.; his sisters, Wilma (Larry) Gray of Lake Stevens, WA, Barbara (Mike) Kane of Cathedral City, CA, Virginia (Fred (Fritz)) Anderson of Kent, WA and Wanda (John) La Rose of Arlington, WA. Howard was preceded in death by his two younger brothers, Robert Elwood Lee of Niceville, FL and Mark Allen Lee of Kent, WA. Howard had seven grandchildren, 11 great
grandchildren and numerous extended family – and loved them all.
The family cannot begin to express their thanks to Dr. Charles Chaffee, Howard’s primary care physician for over 30 years. In addition, recognition goes to Dr. Mark Gunning and Dr. Vinaya Chepuri for their help and assistance over the last several years. The family also deeply appreciates the
Puget Sound Kidney Center at Smokey Point, its nurses and staff, who made Howard comfortable during trying times. And, finally, there aren’t enough words for Travis Hots and the many Snohomish County medics and emergency personnel who attended Howard in his final moments. Everyone was professional, kind, considerate and made a difficult time as gentle as it could possibly be.
To say Howard was loved is an understatement. His love for his wife was not often spoken out loud, but it was deep, solid and unconditional. His
children and other family members had no doubt about his love and affection for them. Howard had the extraordinary blessing of being able to share his
birthdays with his eldest son, Howard Jr., who were born the same day 25 years apart. Howard was a “nice guy” who was loved, admired and respected by all who knew him. He was a strong man but calm and reserved. He was quietly opinionated and not always politically correct. He knew all the swear words but never said anything that might have offended his mother.
A Celebration of Life for Howard, including military honor guard, will be held at Evergreen Funeral Home and Cemetery, 4504 Broadway, Everett WA on
August 20, 2015 at 2:00 p.m. A small inurnment ceremony will follow shortly thereafter, and all are welcome to attend. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Navy Relief or the Wounded Warrior Project.