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Grateful…Wil’s Celebration of Life, Legacy and 2024 New Year...Uncharted Territory

Dear Friends of WHR…

As last Thanksgiving approached, November 2023, marking what would have been Wil & I’s 48th “falling in love” anniversary, when we first met and fell in love in the fall of 1976. I sat alone in our cabin surrounded by memories of a person who not only was my soul-mate, my husband, lover and best friend, but mentor too, as he was for so many others. I reflected trying not to choke up as I wrote. Just as Grant Lindaman, "G2”, choked up at Wil’s Celebration of Life Memorial at the Ranch on September 16, 2023. Barely able to utter the only word he could muster up from the depths of his broken heart…. “Grateful”. That one word describes all my emotions this year as we wrapped up our 46 years of marriage together, and then Wil gently slipped away in the midst of my arms and tears with my locks of curls draped over him, as he always loved.

To mourn, we are reminded in scripture, we are blessed and will be comforted. I have generously received both. I am so grateful for all the out pouring these past months and continued support and love from so many. I felt that I should at least give a short recap (Beverly style ha!) of the event which truly was a celebration and reunion for so many, in honor of Wil. We had 15 guests stay at the ranch, bunkhouses full including the assistant trainers quarters at the lower bunkhouse, RVs and even some sleeping on cots outside on the lawn. Another 10 staying at local lodgings here and in Halfway. Folks drove, flew and came from Montana, Arizona, California, Kentucky, Tennessee, Baja, Mexico, Washington, Idaho, Nevada, Wyoming & Oregon. A total gathering of about 100 + people with live music performed by our own, very talented “Locals” and friends. We were graced with Wil's son, Samson , who's looking more like his Dad as the years pass, and wife, Dee who were integral to our team during the years we trained out of our big stables in Medford, Oregon and Loomis/Lincoln, California. I felt if people are going to come this far, we’d give them something to remember, as if Wil himself wasn’t enough.

Wil's son Sam...a chip off the old block

Thank You all for coming and Celebrating, the man, the boots, the legend, Wil Howe

Click on side arrows for Memorial slideshow

Wil was never one for fanfare, didn’t like funerals, and certainly wouldn’t have expected this Celebration of Life, but…he wasn’t here and I “ran thru the bridle” and we had a “WHR Ho-Down”! ...Most appropriately, as folks arrived & gathered, we were playing Wil & I’s favorite music, the Bob Dylan sound track from the 1971 Pat Garret & Billy the Kid movie. It was the 8 track tape Wil had plugged in when he picked me up at my home town in his 4 wheel drive 1966 Mercury PU truck and drove east outa the city of Seattle as we eloped spring 1977…such sweet memories. ..the "Wild Pair". After a few opening words and prayer, by good friend, pastor, musician and cowboy horseman, Benny Ruda, from Baker City next in the music line up was Wil’s personal theme song…Waylon Jennings, I’ve Always Been Crazy which truly spoke for Wil’s life and he related to it deeply.

We always felt Waylon's words “I've always been different with one foot over the line...winding up somewhere with one foot ahead or behind..." suited Wil’s often untimely, unorthodox approach to life, be it his young wife, the way he dressed, the beard, boots, his hat crease, or the fact he set the standard with his high classed, versatile "Cadillac" geldings in the horse marketing world. I spoke for nearly 2 hours, with songs that intermingled and told the “Rest of the Story”. Wil’s love for the Lord, horses, his students and music,... it all fit together as we all shared stories, fellowship, memories, poetry & good food and campfires for 3 days.

He cared deeply for others and truly made “brothers” out of the many he mentored. I tried to highlight that, and though we will all remember Wil for his abilities as gifted horseman, trainer and teacher, he shared life changing truths that struck a chord with many and left a lasting impression on their souls. Yes, Wil was a seed planter and an encourager. To encourage is to impart courage to others, Wil knew how to do that, naturally. Training horses in his clinics and schools were the vehicle in which he was able to subtly convey the work of God in one’s life, he was effective. I am blessed to have been part of that work, and help him put into motion all that he was trying share, as we did it together, as a team.

I found this song by Michael Tomlinson, hand written in a card that had been sent to Wil years ago by a friend and it sums up Wil's desire to cultivate friendships...

By A Friend

Say to me what you really mean

I wont ever give you reason to lie

see into me, what I am is in my eyes

And I'm willing to believe the same in you

I think I'm ready now, I'm only learning how

Is there anyone around who has a plan

I'm not a lonely man, there are those who think I am

But I'd rather be alone until I'm standing by a friend

Everyone I've ever known needs a friend

A warm hand in hand

Every woman & man

You want a good friend, do it know

Brother why wait around? Sister don't let me down

Cause you pass right by a friend

And they might never come again

Don't you know me? What I really mean

Is there something here that you can understand

I'm not afraid - to open up my hand

And I stretch it out to see

If its taken by a friend

By a friend I've known only minutes

By a friend I've known all my life

To you friend I say, Let's go outside and play

In the laughter, in the rain

In the sunlight, in the pain

This warmed my heart, for all these friends that are now still standing beside me, because of Wil. Grateful.

Recapping 2023 . . .

Here are some highlights of early 2023 when Wil and I were enjoying 5 weeks of Mesquite Nevada, enjoying the desert, our friends from Wyoming and boondock camping while I trail rode some spectacular country. Like we mentioned... going south to winter in Mesquite, Nevada is “ only half the distance, but ya get the same effect!” as going all the way to Cochise, southeast Arizona!

Katie Dog's Comeback...

It is also coming one now, year since “Katie Cow Dog” our now 12 yr old Red/Blue Heeler blew out both her ACLs chasing rock chucks and underwent bilateral TPLO reconstructive knee surgery Dec 7th 2022. After 8 weeks of recovery here at the ranch having to stay tied to her bed and hand walked, Katie made a great recovery which turned into rehab when we got to the desert in February. We took her twice a week up to Santa Clara just outside of St George Utah about 35 miles north of Mesquite to a Canine Rehab Center, where she received cold laser treatments, Pilates like balance & muscle building rehab workout sessions, complete with a water treadmill.

Soon we were hiking in the sand dunes near the roping arena we stayed at, and in no time, she resumed her full duties as my trail riding partner venturing farther and farther up to several mile trail rides once again. God is amazing and I am so grateful. With the addition of integrating Katie onto a Raw Foods diet she has made a full recovery, is frisky and full of energy. While in Mesquite we spent time exploring the beautiful Red Rock country that surrounds St George Utah, more for Katie Dog & I to see this year as the Zion and Brice Canyon are both within a 2 hour drive.

2023 Spring back at the Home Ranch...

When we returned to the Oregon Home Ranch in April 2023. Our good friend Dary Reed came down from Yakima as he always has for his regular Quartey visits with Wil, and I am so grateful he did and got to spend a couple special days with Wil whom he’s run with for 30 years. We three drove down to Hells Canyon Dam to see the spring Mountain Goat newborn kids frolicking on the rimrocks. Special springtime memories.

A couple weeks later we sold “Magpie”, the handsome black & white paint ranch gelding I trained on the past year and half, to Connie Overbay of Bend Oregon. She spent a few days with us bonding with him in a Private Clinic. Then May came,... and things went fast for Wil, a "slippery slope", I called it... and the Lord took him home. Hard to believe it’s been 9 months.

Summer Flew By...

I was surrounded by dear friends and and the good Lord got me through the toughest part and I stayed busy with ranch chores and putting on a couple Cowgirl Clinics in June, then putting up the hay in July and then I took off for 2 weeks in mid-July taking time to go visit friends whom I knew wouldn’t be able to make the Memorial. A very healing and special trip thru Central Oregon west to Salem area, then on north to the Dalles on the Columbia River for another couple days on up the east side to Yakima, WA the North Cascades Hwy way north to Bellingham spent a few days with more long time friends and then back south and then east again out to Moses Lake, WA for visit dear friend Gaynor Edwards whom Wil & I met her and her late husband Roger, back in 1980 at the Reno Snaffle Bit Futurity. They hosted Wil’s very first Horse Training Clinics back in 1983 & 1984. So good to connect with old friends, our history & sharing the common thread of horsemanship and our faith in Christ.

The rest of the summer I did the best I could and kept busy with local activities and showered by endless heartfelt communication from people learning of Wil’s passing, which is still happening. I spent most my time preparing myself and the ranch for the Celebration of Life Memorial in September and a test-run Parade at our local county fair in Halfway on Labor Day, in preparation for the Pendleton Round Up Parade in honor of Wil. It went well, and felt good doing it for him.

The Cerebration of Life event came together without a glitch due to the unbelievable help that converged at the ranch the prior Wednesday. It could not have been better. My dear sweet guys, horsemen, Grant Lindaman from Scottsdale AZ & Zeph Schulz & his family from Greenough, MT, Gaynor Edwards from Moses Lake, WA and Cindy Haugen from Halfway, OR all pitched in for an assortment of crazy jobs and needed tasks as well as the many others who came and assisted, I cant Thank everyone enough from the bottom of my heart. Speaking of my heart…and God being with me the whole way through… I am ever grateful.

Pendleton Round Up Parade...

On Thursday night, before the parade, we arrived at Pendleton at 11:00 pm in our Mini Motorhome and just as I pulled off the freeway exit Wil’s song “I’ve Always Been Crazy” by Waylon Jennings came on my radio … I couldn’t believe it…so many memories of the years going to Pendleton with Wil rushed thru my soul. The next morning I got all saddled up and headed several blocks to the parade staging sign-up area, as I approached, I heard live music playing in the distance, a deep strong voice belting out Hank Williams Jr… it was 9 am , there in the old PG&G parking lot was a beer garden where folks were mingling, nursing their rodeo hangovers with Bloody Mary’s right next to the place we had parked our rig with “Blue Boy” all those years we attended Round Up … as I rode up…he started playing Wil’s song again … blew me away again,… I rode the horses right into the beer garden turned around and soaked up that moment thru the tears….I knew God and Wil were there with me.

As I rode the Parade route, leading Wil's horse, and turned the last corner onto Court Street I choke up as I approached downtown and Hamley's Famous Saddle Shop where for years was our stomping grounds while at Round Up... but with a warm reception from few familiar faces cheering me on and the announcer reading about Wil, I was honored to be there and again... my heart,... Grateful.

Moving Forward...Unchartered Territory

The past few years have been difficult for me and full of added roles & responsibilities and struggles as I lost my folks, in 2017 & 2019. We had to cut back our business activities and horses, deciding to sell our Arizona Outpost in 2020 and then hit with Wil’s health issues and caregiving that started in 2021. I am still in a fog, but feel the clouds dissipating and the sky opening and the pastures will soon be greening. Still not fully sure what the Lord has in store for me as I move forward, but one thing for sure is I have to have horses in my life.

I have enjoyed my personal, bridle horse, Sparkanic more than ever these past 2 years, and spent more time with him this winter as I am presently staying in sunny Mesquite, Nevada again & riding on the south west desert & red Rocks of Utah. I ventured on to Scottsdale, AZ over the Holidays this winter to team up with Grant Lindaman at G2 Performance Horses, rode with & for Grant and worked on getting my “Mojo” back. So I can continue to give back and keep Wil’s legacy going. I don’t know how long this pause of regrouping and journey of grieving will take, but I want you all to know I’m still here and am itching for a new horse or two to train up into a “Wil Howe Gelding” for sale to keep in my hip pocket, and do what I do best…like Wil, “teach and preach”. It was a lovely family Christmas Holiday week being with the Lindaman's and I'm sure I'll be back down again before I head north in April.

The Oregon WHR Home Ranch is truly a “peace haven”. A place of tranquility for the soul and I intend to keep it a destination for anyone who needs a little spiritual R&R and horsemanship advancement or restoration. I have given serious consideration and have laid before the Lord many ideas that have been called upon my heart, including the of hosting other types of events & instructors in the future here as well as continue my own Cowgirls Ranch Retreat & Wil Howe Foundation to Finished-Bridle Horsemanship & Cow Horse Classes, and Lord willing,... an Annual September Wil Howe Memorial Re-Union Foundation To Finished & Cow Horse Benefit Clinic. Hopefully, Grant "G2" Lindaman Performance Horses & Zeph Schulz Performance Horses joining me in teaching. This should be a fun event held the week of the famous Pendleton Round Up so folks can plan to take that in as well, you wont want to miss it!

This summer I also will be offering a few Youth Clinics and Lessons days for locals which is truly needed in our area with emphasis on youth horsemanship to lay a good foundation for any of their aspirations, be it 4H, ranching, rodeo, roping or barrels or cow horse.

I will keep you’all posted as 2024-25 WHR Events are planned & confirmed for WHR, starting with:

Mon-Wed (Arrival day Sunday afternoon) Discounts for attending both

Already I am receiving inquiries for WHR Spring Tune-Up Classes, so please contact & bug me!! if you’re interested, even if to schedule a Private Session, which I've been doing the past couple years.  I can be reached this winter/spring on my cell 520-820-1096, text or by email 

2024 A Happy "New" Year...

As the Holidays of Thanksgiving rolled into Christmas and now the New Year is well upon us, already Valentines Day has gone by with memories of Wil's love to carry me ....

I pray you too, as Wil would want,... keep that grateful "Attitude of Gratitude" and experience the Peace and Joy that accompanies the Reason for all the Seasons... Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving giving that praise and credit daily, where it's truly due... to the Good Lord, Jesus Christ our Creator, Savior and Redeemer and forever sustainer.

May this 2024 New Year be filled with New Beginnings, Blessings, Adventure and Hope as we embrace Wil's memory & legacy & keep our eyes ever on the horizon, our faces to the sunshine & up to the clouds... watching for the Lord's return.

God Bless You All... See Ya Down the Trail...on a Good One

Beverly,... Wil in Spirit

& Katie "New Knees"

The man, the boots, the legend ...Wil Howe 1941-2023

Beloved Husband, Father, Friend-Brother, Teacher-Mentor, Horseman-Trainer, Follower of Jesus


For all horse inquiries, please call Wil Howe Ranch at 541-893-6535 mornings or evenings Pacific Time for personal attention to your requests. Remember, we usually have several geldings not currently listed. $20,000 and up. Let us help you find the horse of your dreams! Click here for details on purchasing a WHR gelding.

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