On April 4, 2023, Martin Isaac Howard, Sr. passed away at his home in Prineville. Martin (Marty) was born November 28, 1934, in Oregon City, Oregon to James A. Howard and Lola Frances (Rhodes) Howard. He was the youngest of four siblings, having many adventures with Jim Jr., Virginia and Fran. The family lived in West Linn, Oregon, and when he was in seventh grade moved to McMinnville, Oregon, where they lived on a small farm. It was about a mile out of town, and Marty rode his bicycle to school. This was also where he and the other kids learned to milk cows.
Eventually, the family moved to Prineville. He soon began to find a way to have livestock and always knew he wanted to be a cattle rancher. He took over operation of the Rafter 2 Ranch in 1963, operating it along with his wife, Betty Jean, continually until their retirement a few years ago. Sports were a big part of his life in high school, and he lettered four years in varsity baseball and also played football. He was the starting quarterback on the Crook County football team that won a state championship in 1952. Many of his teammates were lifelong friends.
He married the love of his life, Betty Jean, in 1955. They were together for 62 years and one day. They did everything together, work and play. Never ones to vacation much until later in life, they thoroughly enjoyed ranching, farming and raising their family. Their faith in God was extremely important to both of them, and they committed many hours to working with youth in the church. Many of those young people and kids who worked on the ranch were also lifelong friends. As their kids got a bit older, Martin became very active in the Oregon Cattleman's Association, serving as
a state officer and being named to the following by the State of Oregon: Livestock Advisory Committee, Land Conservation and Development Commission, State Livestock and Marketing Board and Crook County ASC Committee. He was also an active member in the Crook County Stockgrowers and Hampton Butte Grazing Cooperative and was a long-term member of the Crook County Planning Commission, many of those years as chairman. Martin was a cherished father, grandfather, great-grandfather and friend. We take comfort in these words that he penned near the end of his life and wish to share them with you. "I take comfort in the fact that Betty is in Heaven, in the presence of God and before too long, I will join her in God's presence, and we will both be with God forever. I can hardly wait."
He was preceded in death by his loving spouse, Betty Jean; his parents; brother, Jim Howard; and sisters, Virginia Widman and Fran Howard. Surviving are his four children: sons, Mark (Jeanne) Howard and Marty Jr. (Jan) Howard and daughters, Teresa (Mike) Ervin and Heidi Howard; grandchildren, Chad (Cassie) Howard, Shane (Tyce) Howard, Stevie (Billy) Howard-Dyal, Alyssa (Ken) Harwell, Josh (Marcelle) Howard, Ashley Barden, Meriah (Jeff) Williams and Shasta (TJ) Ramoss; 22 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews.
Services will be held Friday, April 21. A graveside service will be held at Howard Cemetery at 10:30 a.m., to be followed by a memorial service at Prineville Funeral Home Chapel at 1 p.m.
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