Walter C Howe Jr

Walter Howe was born March 2, 1934 in Portland, and passed away peacefully on August 10, 2020.  Walter was raised in Olympia, graduating from Olympia High School in 1952 where he is a member of the Hall of Fame.  He worked his way through the University of Washington with jobs at local plywood mills, the Olympia Post Office, and the Olympia Brewery.  He graduated in 1956 from the University of Washington cum laude where he was President of Phi Delta Theta fraternity.

There he met his wife, Teddy, and they spent 56 wonderful years together, raised two sons, David and Stephen, and shared many special experiences, living in Seattle, Olympia, Washington DC, and Medina WA. They had a 12 year adventure owning an apartment in the small French village of Vence, enjoying their French, British and American friends.  “Teddy made everything good happen in our marriage and family.”

Following service in the Air Force, he graduated from the UW Law School as a member of Order of the Coif and Law Review, and practiced law with the firm now known as Perkins Coie. He became Legal Assistant to Gov. Dan Evans in 1965 and served as State Budget Director from 1967 to 1972.  He considered working with Gov. Evans as one of the great privileges and influences on his life.

He was appointed by President Nixon as Deputy Director and Acting Director of ACTION, then a federal agency responsible for managing the federal government’s role in volunteer oriented programs, including Peace Corps, VISTA, Foster Grandparents, and many others. In 1973 he testified before Congress 16 times on behalf of the programs, which he loved, and which gave him a belief in the importance of service.  His most vivid memories were visits with Peace Corps volunteers in Ecuador, Belize, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Malaysia, Thailand, Nepal and India, often sleeping on their floors; with VISTA volunteers in many states, and with a special foster grandparent in Massachusetts.

He returned to the Northwest in 1974 to become a Vice President of Weyerhaeuser Co., with responsibilities in the public affairs, environmental and energy activities of the Company.  He retired from Weyerhaeuser in 1991 to become President of the Washington Roundtable. He retired from that position in 1996, and became Of Counsel to The Gallatin Group, a regional public affairs firm.

Mr. Howe served on, and chaired many Boards and Commissions during his career, especially in the education and social services area.  He was Chair of the Council for Higher Education, the Public Affairs Council, a national public affairs professional organization, and the Association of Washington Business. He valued his membership in the Rotary Club of Seattle for over 20 years, valuing its motto of “Service Above Self”.   He was proud of being a founding board member of the Bellevue Schools Foundation, and was grateful to Governor Lowry who appointed him to the Commission for National and Community Service, and to Governors Spellman and Gardner who reappointed him, allowing him to continue to help establish service programs in the State.

He was a lifetime member of the UW Alumni and President’s Clubs, a long time member of the Tyee Club, a Husky football season ticket holder for over 40 years.  He was an initial season ticket holder of the Seahawks, Sonics, and Mariners, continuing to enjoy all Seattle sports on TV in his later years.  He greatly enjoyed new friends at Emerald Heights Retirement Community, where he and Teddy moved in 2014.

Throughout his career he mentored many young people, and enjoyed watching those with whom he worked, build their successful careers and lives.  His greatest pleasure in life was his family. Teddy, his greatly loved partner and wife of 56 years, who predeceased him in 2018, his sons and great friends, Dave and Steve, his special daughters in law, Barbara and Jennifer, and his beloved grandchildren, Tori, Danny and Waverly. Walt’s guidance, leadership, and love will be missed by all of us, as well as his devotion and hard work towards building a strong family.

Mr. Howe suggested that any remembrances be contributed to the Howe Endowment for Juvenile Arthritis Research at the Children’s Hospital Foundation in honor of his wife, Teddy, the Seattle Rotary Service Foundation for programs related to under privileged children, or to another charity of their choice.  He asked that there be only a family service at his interment next to Teddy.  Please feel invited to visit the online obituary at

16 Responses to “Walter C Howe Jr”

  • Mack Hogans says:

    My condolences go out to the Howe family.

    I worked for Walt many years at Weyerhaeuser Company. He was a mentor, counselor and coach throughout my life of knowing him. He was responsible for getting me into Weyerhaeuser. When I first interviewed at Weyerhaeuser all the interviewers wanted to know about my experience! Walt wanted to know the titles of the latest books I had read. I knew then that Walt would cause me to stretch and grow professionally.

    Walt was more than a boss and friend! I miss him already.

    Mack Hogans

  • Brian Lock says:

    Walt contributed to the early success of AmeriCorps and national service programs in Washington State. I was part of the original staff at the WA Commission for National and Community Service and Walt was one of our first commissioners who contributed to our success. Walt was a true professional. I will never forget him. His program recommendations were the best I’ve ever seen in my 30 yrs in state service. Very fair, honest, educational, and insightful. He will be missed.

  • Maggie McGuire says:

    It was my privilege and great pleasure to have known and worked with Walt during my years at Weyerhaeuser. I supported his department in the years we studied and applied organization improvement systems called Total Quality Management. I learned about the business of public affairs from Walt who was always the gracious, unassuming, brilliant mentor. His first question to me always was “how is your family and that son of yours?” I will remember him as a role model of integrity, decency and competence. My deepest sympathy and sincerest condolences to his family.


  • Bill Clapp says:

    I had the pleasure of knowing Walter through Weyerhaeuser as a very, very nice man. It seems that he had a very interesting and full life and contributed a lot to many people. It sounds as though he also had a sense of adventure. From the descendants of Matthew G. Norton and Norton Clapp we send our condolences to his children and grandchildren for your loss.
    Bill Clapp

  • Gary Smith says:

    I’d like to express my condolences to Walt’s family. I had the honor and pleasure of working with Walt during his ten years or so with The Gallatin Group. I was always so proud to be able to bring Walt to meetings with clients – invariably, his counsel was wise, measured, ethical, and deeply informed as a result of his remarkable career and extensive relationships.

    In addition, I was Walt’s racquetball partner for many years. When we began playing, Walt could wipe the court with me, as I previously had played squash and tennis, but not racquetball. He coached me and put up with me, and eventually we reached a competitive balance. Teddy usually seemed to think all the exercise was good for Walt, but one time I suspect she had a different reaction.

    In sports such as racquetball and squash, controlling the point comes easiest by controlling the center of the court. It becomes a bit like basketball (another “non-contact sport”) in that there’s a lot of contesting the prime real estate, even though each player must make room for the other to reach his shot. While players try to avoid hitting each other, inevitably, things happen. On this occasion, my racket and Walt’s goggles met sharply. Blood flowed from the bridge of his nose. Walt insisted on playing. As time progressed the bleeding stopped, but the residue on Walt’s face grew to be rather ghastly.

    When our court time expired and we stepped out into the hallway, we ran into another pair of regular players with whom we had a nodding acquaintance. One them had always struck me as a very rough-looking character – built like a fireplug, with a bald head and no neck. He looked tough, but he took one glance at Walt and said “Wow. I don’t ever want to play you!”

    Washington State has lost an iconic community servant and an exemplary human being. I’m sure that Walt is happy to be reunited with Teddy, and for the rest of us, we will always have his shining example to follow.

  • Jan Pauw says:

    I worked with Walt on many contraversial polittical issues when he was at Weyerhaeuser, including log exports, environmental laws and regulations, wilderness bills and other public lands issues. He was a wonderful client: smart,knowledgeable,thoughtful, level-headed,respectful of everyone (friends and foes alike). We also worked together on various timber industry trade association activities; he was well known and very well respected in the industry.

  • Jan Pauw says:

    I worked with Walt on many contraversial polittical issues when he was at Weyerhaeuser, including log exports, environmental laws and regulations, wilderness bills and other public lands issues. He was a wonderful client: smart, knowledgeable, thoughtful, level-headed, respectful of everyone (friends and foes alike). We also worked together on various timber industry trade association activities; he was well known and very well respected in the industry.

  • Michael Fraser Morgan says:

    Walt was a great mentor to me and a business associate of my father. Walt was a class act that exercised good judgment while always acting with integrity.

  • Barry Witham says:

    For those of us at Emerald Heights who knew Walt in the twilight of his extraordinary life, we can only marvel at his accomplishments. But we can celebrate his impact on our community—his generosity, his kindness and his inspiring integrity. Rest in peace, dear friend, along with your beloved Teddy.

  • Carolyn von Gohren says:

    It was with sorrow and shock that I read of the passing of Walt Howe, and my condolences are extended to his family.

    A fond memory of Walt from 1967 persists to this day. During my first week working in the Office of Governor Dan Evans as Assistant Press Secretary, I was asked to “interview” Walt for something that we were writing in our office. Having graduated from college just a few months earlier, I thought that this was a significant responsibility! What I remember about that experience is how very kind and pleasant Walt (then “Mr. Howe”) was to me. Afterward, he even complimented me to my boss Neil McReynolds.

    In 2015 at the Legacy luncheon in honor of Dan Evan’s ninetieth birthday, my husband Roger and I were seated at the table with Walt and Teddy. So it was gratifying to tell him about my pleasant recollection.

    It’s hard for me to know that Walt (and Teddy) have now passed away “just” five years after we were together.

    Carolyn von Gohren

  • James Suhr says:

    When my late wife and I moved to Emerald Heights in 2014 from suburban Chicago, Walt and Teddy became our closest friends and were significant positive factors in helping us to acclimatize here and to blend in with this marvelous community. In the last couple of years, Walt’s true character helped both he and I traverse the early stages of being widowers. He will be sincerely missed.

  • John Giese says:

    My sincerest condolences to the entire Howe family.

    I am one of many people whose lives were enriched by knowing Walt. In these abnormal times we don’t have opportunities to gather to show how much someone meant to so many.

    I met Walt in 1970 and worked for him as a summer intern in 1971 when he was director of the state budget office. I got to be friends with him and Teddy and have so many fond memories of time spent with them. We remained live long friends.

    Walt always spoke so highly and fondly of his children and grandchildren. The last time I talked with him on the phone in early July, he didn’t talk about his aliments but about his enjoyment of visiting with family members as best as he could electronically.

    God Bless and rest in peace,
    John Giese

  • Bob Schuyler says:

    By any measure, Walt was an extraordinary man. All who knew him are diminished by his passing.

  • TONI WEAVER says:

    Walt and Teddy have been dear friends of mine and my late husband, Parks, for 50+ years, and he and Parks grew up as neighbors in their youth. They were also neighbors of ours during our early married years. Parks knew Walt by his childhood nickname, “Sonny,” and called him that in front of then Gov., Dan Evans, who got quite a kick out of it. But, it was when our 3 yr. old thought her daddy called him “Honey,” that he then became known to us as “Honey Howe,” and that was our forever name for this dear man.

    He was everything the other comments said he was and I will miss these two special friends, but take comfort in knowing they are happily together. They were an important part of so many memories and can rest in peace, knowing how much they both touched our lives. My best to Dave, Steve and their families.

  • Gary O'Malley says:

    I had the good fortune to work for Walt for many years at Weyerhaeuser and he was a fabulous boss; however, it was, and will always be, what he taught me about life that I will cherish most. He was always a man of integrity and compassion. He also took personal risks to help others grow and succeed, myself included. He quietly built relationships with all and got to know those around him on a personal level — he cared. A true leader and friend. My thoughts and prayers are with his wonderful family.

  • Dana and Bruce Brown says:

    We have been friends with Walt and Teddy for 44 years. When we think of Walt, these are the attributes that come to mind: HUMBLE; thoughtful listener; caring and devoted; insightful; true friend; wise; sincere; a calm presence; a great partner to Teddy and a loving father and grandfather. We are better people for knowing him. He is greatly missed.

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