Howard (Howie) Clarence Rider was born on September 30, 1926, in Puyallup Washington. He was one of six children born to parents Olney and Sarah Rider.
Howie was nothing if not a product of "The Greatest Generation." Having survived the depression and the war, he never took anything for granted, never let anything go to waste, and firmly believed that hard work would get you everything you needed in life. He was proud of his service in the Army Air Force in Germany at the end of WWII and, having come from very humble beginnings, he was grateful for the three square meals a day while in the military.
Howie met the love of his life, Marion, at a community dance. She agreed to a second date, even though he was "the worst dancer in the world." The two fell quickly in love and were married on May 13, 1950. Their love for each other ran deep throughout their 70-year marriage. They had three children before moving to Alaska in 1960. The Alaskan lifestyle appealed to Howie, and he traveled to Juneau on a brief scouting trip to assess the job opportunities. Once back in Washington, he immediately packed up his young family and drove them up to Juneau without a job or a place to live. Upon arrival, he contacted Lyle Hebert, owner of Lyle's Hardware and Furniture, who asked him "what took you so long?" The family built a house out North Douglas and settled into their new Alaskan life. Howie worked his way up at Lyle's, eventually becoming co-owner.
Howie was nothing if not a master outdoorsman. He loved hunting, boating, flying his floatplane, and, above all, fishing. One of his proudest accomplishments was his world record king salmon caught in Kelp Bay in 1977. The couple purchased the M/V Joy Rider in the early 1980's, and they spent many years happily touring the Southeastern waters, memorizing every harbor, inlet, and good fishing spot, often with their grandchildren tagging along for the adventure. They had their share of excitement on the water over the years, including a humpback whale that lifted their boat out of the water while they were anchored up. While Marion never quite recovered from the shock of it, Howie was only upset about having to replace the broken swim step. An avid whistler who always laughed the loudest at his own jokes, friends remember Howie as always having a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eye.
Howie passed his "other greatest love," the Joy Rider, on to his grandson Blake, who continues to explore the same Southeastern waters that his grandfather did before him. Howie and Marion were blessed with nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren, and he was lucky to have forged an especially close relationship with great-grandson Carter. Howie loved to torture Carter with tickles, while Carter entertained Howie with his gymnastics skills.
Howie carried his strong sense of integrity with him throughout his life, as well as his deep love for his bride Marion, and his passion for Alaska. He often spent hours looking out his window from a comfortable chair, counting the eagles, looking for wildlife and making weather observations. His final years were spent at the Juneau Pioneer Home, where the staff quickly became an extension of his family. Howie passed on November 4, 2020, at the Pioneer Home; he was 94 years old.
Howie was preceded in death by siblings Harold, Jack, Lloyd, and Anne Marie. He is survived by brother Clifford (Flo); children Sue Rider-Hall (Steven), Sharyl Hall (Hugh), and Brad Rider; as well as grandchildren Nathan Rider, Jake Nightgun Herron, Diego Reza, Casey Vandor, Chloe, Hannah, and Hugh Hall, and Shawna and Blake Rider.
Published in Juneau Empire from Nov. 22 to Dec. 21, 2020.