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Howard L. Daggett

April 30, 1935 - October 30, 2019

Howard Daggett, 84 his age, not his IQ, bid farewell to this cruel world  immediately after the world series on October 30th. He must have been an Astros fan...

There will be a 3:00 pm Rosary followed by a 3:30 pm funeral Mass Friday, Nov. 29, 2019 at St. Edward’s Catholic Church,  5303 River Rd. N. Keizer, OR 97303. Reception following. There will also be a 1:00 pm graveside memorial service on Saturday May 23, 2020 at Prairie Creek Cemetery in Joseph, OR.

For those of you who knew him, he was as stubborn in dying as he was in living. If you didn’t know Howard, you missed a great opportunity. He was the man who became everyone’s friend, father, brother, and accomplice. In his own words, “Without people I could not exist. Maybe it’s because I’d have no one to pull a joke on or tell a story to about my life.”

Howard was born to Vernon and Bessie Daggett on April 30, 1935 and grew up on a ranch outside Joseph, Oregon in the Wallowa mountains. He was at the bottom of the heap, having three older brothers: Vernon, Ervin, and Horace. With four boys on the ranch there was never a dull moment. The shenanigans never ended which left for many stories to tell, most too inappropriate for here. Howard said that being the youngest child was never easy, especially having to watch all three brothers pass away before him.

As a kid Howard would watch his dad work with the horses. That must be where he learned the phrase “Whoa, you son-of-a-bitch, whoa!”, a phrase he used often. One thing Howard was never short of was cuss words.

Howard went to school in an eight-grade, one-room schoolhouse and was infatuated with his “young and pretty” teacher. He would watch her teaching math to the older students. Subsequently he became very good at math while trying to impress her. This was the beginning of his love for numbers and women that would serve him later in life. He also used it to torment his children with complaints about gas prices, inflation, and the nation’s financial crisis.

When not in school or doing chores he spent much of his time making homemade wooden toys. His favorite was a rubber band gun for playing cowboys and Indians, which he never seemed to grow out of. Even as an adult you would sometimes find Howard hiding in a closet with a rubber band gun, waiting to catch you unexpectedly.

Howard rode a horse to school until he was 10 years old. In 1945 the Daggetts still had no electricity, no plumbing, and no heat. In fact, Howard loved to tell about having to wear his pants to bed so they wouldn’t be frozen stiff in the morning. They didn’t have much, but they DID get a 1929 Model A Ford.

Howard had known a girl by the name of Caroline Gibson from a very young age. Ever the gentleman, he would lead the horse that carried her to school. During his junior and senior years of high school he spent much of his time at the Gibson home. They became inseparable friends; he even taught her how to cuss. These two best friends got married on June 11, 1955.

Not long after, a back injury while working at a saw mill gave Howard the opportunity and incentive to go to college where he studied structural engineering. He eventually earned an associates degree in applied science. He soon after began his career with the State Highway Department and moved his family from town to town with each project. They moved from Salem to Baker to Clatskanie to Lincoln City to Astoria and back to Salem again. He worked with many people and made some close life-long friends. On the weekends there were parties, dancing, playing cards, and all manner of hell- raising.

After seven years of constant moving Howard decided to slow things down a little. He changed jobs, becoming the Water Master for Grant County in John Day. Only four years later, though, he was promoted and moved once more to Lakeview, Oregon. As the years wore on, he once again decided to change professions and moved back to Salem to become a Dam Safety Engineer. He loved that title!  He even had his business cards made with the title “Dam Man” on them. In conversation, though, he loved telling people that he was the Damn Man.

Howard was the neighborhood “mayor” everywhere he lived. He had to know everyone and bring them all closer together, whether they liked it or not. Then he would complain that he couldn’t get any yard work done because the “damn neighbors” wouldn’t leave him alone. It seemed that everyone loved Howard.

It’s really a miracle that this man was with us as long as he was. He’d lived through a back surgery, a heart attack at 55, and an aortic aneurysm at 60. He loved his food, cigars and cigarettes, but he was a fighter. After his heart attack he gave up smoking and started taking better care of himself, at least for a day or two. At least he never started smoking again.

The first Christmas after his heart attack his kids gave him a puppy. Caroline asked if he was going to keep it? He asked her if she was going to knock it in the head if he did? The dog stayed and became a joy in Howard’s life.

Some people would describe Howard as ornery, cantankerous, and opinionated. That was only because they knew him. But Howard always had great advice and loved giving it. Many people would seek him out to get his direction. He would always give you his opinion, but if you told him yours he would tell you where to go and how to get there.

Caroline left this world too early at the age of 60. Howard, being the lovable, sociable person that he was, would not stay alone for long. He married a lovely lady, Mary Jane Richardson, who he also lost much too soon. After being widowed twice he finally found the woman who would be his love until the end. Some were amazed that she put up with him that long... Howard and Barbara Wiseman were married in June 2005. She was at his bedside when he passed.

Howard doesn’t leave behind much in the way of possessions, but he did leave behind two wonderful daughters, Karen and Tammy, four grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren. In addition to this, his marriages to Mary Jane and Barbara have added another ten stepchildren, 28 more grandchildren, 36 more great-grandchildren, and one great-great-grandchild. Whew!

There were a number of things that irritated Howard. Like men wearing hats indoors, the way people drove anyone who drove faster than him was an idiot!, and shirts without pockets “A shirt without a pocket is a blouse.”. Besides, where else was a man going to keep his teeth? But if all that wasn’t embarrassing enough to his family, his overalls were! Yet he always wore them but not his teeth with pride. When told when his health was failing that he looked good he’d reply that it was hard to make him look bad!
But despite his appearance and demeanor, underneath was a loving, giving, caring, gentle man. Proof of that is evident by the deep sorrow and pain in the hearts so many now feel after his passing. Howard lived a great life and died a peaceful death, but the transition was a bitch!

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Guest Book Entries

It’s been our pleasure having Howard in our lives.
May you Rest In Peace my friend.

Howard was a really nice person to work with.  I will really miss him.

Guess I have known Howard most of my life..I grew up on Lower Prarie Creek. certainly one of the most likeable guys ever! Charlotte Reavis Parsons Jo Hi class of '53

Wish I could have known you more! If this obituary is an accurate reflection of the man, I certainly missed out! My sincere condolences to the family through this time.