HOWARD WILLIAM GIPE, 86
Our beloved and treasured Howard passed away suddenly on Sunday, April 29th 2018 in Whitefish with his loving wife by his side.
He was born May 30th, 1931 to Howard and Eleanor Gipe in Great Falls, MT.
In 1938, Howard lived near Kila where he attended school. The following year his family moved to Moccasin, near Lewistown, where he finished high school. At the age of 20, Howard was the youngest grain buyer for the Montana Elevator Company in Montague.
Howard married Rosemary Able in 1950 and later became the proud father of 2 sons, Walter Eugene and Gary Howard.
He joined the U.S. Air Force in 1952 and during the Korean War, spent nine months in Okinawa as a B-29 gunner and a boom operator refueling aircrafts. He was honorably discharged in 1956 and returned to Montague where he farmed for several years. He didn’t have access to enough land to make it as a full-time farmer, so he worked other jobs. Several jobs were as a pilot flying Cessna airplanes. He also flew them for his own enjoyment throughout many states.
In 1961, a friend’s suggestion inspired him to join the Montana Highway Patrol where he graduated in the top of his class. Howard was stationed in Chinook for 8 years, then moved to Kalispell.
After a passionate and whirlwind romance, he married the love of his life and best friend, Sandi, on November 1, 1985.
Howard retired as a sergeant from the Montana Highway Patrol in 1986 after 25 years of service. He was also elected Flathead County Commissioner the same year. He was re-elected twice for a total of 18 years and the first and only commissioner to serve 3 consecutive terms.
Retirement was not an option for this hardworking man. He went to work as a business manager for friend, Tim Birk, who had commercial interests across the state.
Later, still not ready for full-retirement, Howard embarked on a five year joint-venture with two of his sons, John and James delivering newspapers for the Daily Interlake. He loved sharing his many stories on the dock waiting for his newspapers.
Elk hunting, walleye fishing and camping were some of Howard's favorite hobbies. He hunted many years in the "Bob" but his fondest trips were on the west fork of the Ruby river near Alder with several of his best buddies. He and his son, Walter, enjoyed some "serious" fishing throughout the years. In the last few years, they went on several trips to his favorite place, Fort Peck. He also took his grandsons on memorable fishing trips. Summer camping was "funtastic" for the whole family. He was also an avid Fox news buff and sports fanatic.
Howard's greatest joy was spending his days with Sandi. They traveled all over Montana where he supported her at many sorting competitions. In 2017, they attended their first Sort Pink Charity Event where Howard watched through tears of pride as his wife took first place in her class. This "Tough Enough to Wear Pink" event, created a passion to support the organization from that moment on.
In lieu of flowers, please make donations to: Tough Enough to Wear Pink of Montana (TETWP), PO Box 18085, Missoula, MT 59808.
Howard will be missed tremendously by his family and friends on Earth. We take comfort knowing he will enter heaven with his amazing smile and “Howdy” for those who arrived before him.
He was preceded in death by his parents, "baby sister", youngest son Gary and his beloved dachshund, "Oscar".
He is survived by his sister, Arlene (Jack), brother Hugh (Jan), niece, nephews, and Cousin Dick Gipe. Also survived by Sandi, his best friend and cherished wife of 32 years, son Walter Gipe (Tammy), grandson Justin Gipe (KC). Sons, John Kvaalen (Shannon) and James Kvaalen. Daughters, Connie Peters (Doug), Renae Kraft (Marty), Michelle Quartieri (Pat), Cricket Sparks (Allen). Grandchildren, Jadra, Jesse, Shelby, Colby, Taryn, Bradley, Anthony, Nichole, Mark, Chelsea, Cassandra, Jerome, Nicholas, Jordan, Kylee, Sierra, Tristin, thirteen great-grandchildren plus two more on the way and his dachshund, "Rowdy".
Funeral Service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, May 12 at Easthaven Baptist Church, 2010 Whitefish Stage Rd, Kalispell, MT
In place of a reception, there will be a special procession honoring his service to the Flathead community. Howard will have his final ride in a horse-drawn wagon followed by his horse, Buddy, and two mules, Matilda and Milly, down main street in Kalispell at 2:00 p.m.. Those who would like to follow the procession by riding, walking, driving etc. are encouraged to do so. Please meet in the lot on W Montana Street between 1st and 2nd Ave W N by 1:45 p.m. The procession will head south on main street, around the court house, and then north on main street ending on 6th Street East at Johnson-Gloschat Funeral Home. The United Veterans of the Flathead and the United States Air Force will be providing honors.
Share your stories, pictures and/or condolences at www.jgfuneralhome.com or mail to 142 Park Ave, Kalispell, Mt 59901.