Howard Wayne Betty died Tuesday, May 2, 2017. He was born on Salmon Creek, Okanogan County, on Nov. 15, 1929, as the only spoiled and well-loved son of Emily and Ned Betty and five older sisters: Lorraine, Bea, Elma Grace, Kay and Nedra. Howard graduated from Okanogan High School in 1948 and every year since the class meets in Okanogan — an event he never wanted to miss.
From 1948 to 1955, smokejumping was his way of life, a brotherhood and friends forever. In 1951, Howard and Lenore “Corky” Webb married and started their life in Cheney, Washington, while Howard finished his senior year of college and graduated in 1952 with a teaching degree in shop. Three children followed. Then a job with Nick Rudd in 1955 at the original Methow Valley Lumber located at the Wagner Mill, where Howard and Corky began their business career together in 1960 and eventually built the existing Methow Valley Lumber. In 1977 they retired and Howard joined the carpenter’s union, where they traveled from jobsite to jobsite, and one job was the Liberty Bell School.
Howard built hundreds of homes and businesses in Okanogan County including the Twisp and Winthrop post offices and the Fish Bank building. Howard was a project manager on the Okanogan County jail rebuild, and a cabinetmaker extraordinaire with a passion for giving away his wooden hand-turned bowls and rolling pins.
Howard was a past member of the Sportsman Club, Masons, Shriners, Elks, Kiwanis, Senior Center, Loup Loup Skill Hill Association and Snowmobile Club. He loved to join and volunteer. Howard was a Boy Scout leader along with Earl Austin (1966-70) and they enjoyed teaching runny-nosed kids to be respectful outdoorsmen, take 50-mile hikes, and do river canoeing and camping, and lots of camping.
Howard’s summers were spent water skiing on local lakes (he built his first ski boat), he was an avid hunter and amazing mentor to anyone wanting to learn his craft, especially his four grandsons. In his later years, cribbage was his passion, along with coffee hour at Hank’s Harvest Foods, lunch at the Senior Center, and really bad jokes.
Howard is survived by his wife of 65 years, Corky; three children, Ned and Kris Betty and sons Alex and Kyle, Lesa and Scott Roland and sons Max and Cole, and Debra, Steve and Jolie Reynaud; two sisters, Elma Grace Rediske and Kay Langton; numerous nieces and nephews; and friends far and wide.
Thank you to his friends and the community for treating Howard as the person he used to be, not the one he became.
In memory of Howard please donate to one of the organizations he loved to volunteer for: Aero Methow Rescue, Methow Valley Community Center, Friends of the Library, Loup Loup Ski Bowl or the Senior Center.
Howard was one of a kind, with lots of opinions and advice. He was not perfect but would do anything for you. He will be truly missed.
At this time there will be no service because he is having his own party with Marion King, Clint Estes, Don Einerson, Bill Michelsen, Sam Hanan, Ed Dunkin, Jim Simmons, Jack Brantner, Lew Cooley, Fran Morarity and numerous others. If you would like to celebrate Howard’s life, then help somebody and follow his example and volunteer.