Howard Harvey Stephens, 80, of Toppenish died Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2006, at Yakima Memorial Hospital.
He was born Dec. 29, 1925, in Sunnyside. He grew up and lived his entire life in the Yakima Valley. He retired after 30 years of service with Pacific Power and Light Company (Pacificorp), starting his career as a meter reader and ending as a lineman. Camping, local history, and collecting others' junk were his passions. At retirement he bought the 1933 Liberty Schoolhouse and proceeded to try to fill it with artifacts. Howard hoped to save for prosperity a small spot in the valley with a view of Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier and the agricultural land he loved.
He is survived by his devoted companion of 25 years, Lorraine Aaberg of Toppenish; sons, Leslie Stephens and wife, Carolyn, Oren Stephens, all of Spokane, and Timothy Stephens of Rocklin, Calif.; sisters-in-law, Virginia Stephens of Benton City, Jerry Stephens of Woodland, Calif., and Joyce Stephens of Yakima; numerous nieces and nephews; and Lorraine's children and grandchildren.
He was preceded in death by his parents, M. K. and Minnie Stephens; sister, Margaret Martin; three brothers, Lawrence, Harold, and Paul Stephens; and daughter, Karen Stephens.
At his request no services will be held. Inurnment will be held in the springtime at Lower Valley Memorial Gardens in Sunnyside. If desired, memorial gifts may be made to heart, kidney or diabetes foundations.
The family would like to thank the staffs of Toppenish Nursing and Rehab Center and Davita Dialysis Center in Union Gap for the excellent care and support over the years. Howard soon became a favorite of the staff due to his sense of humor and gentle disposition.
A gathering of remembrance will be held Saturday, Dec. 16, 2006, at Yakama Nation Heritage Center, Hwy 97, Toppenish, in the Winter Lodge from 1 to 4 p.m. All family and friends are welcome.
Smith Funeral Home of Sunnyside is in charge of arrangements.