Steven Loyd Howard was born June 10, 1951, at 12:23 a.m. The home address given at time of birth was Rt. 1, Box 625-A, Albuquerque, New Mexico. His mother was Edna Mae Howard, and his father was Calvin Theodore Howard.
Steve’s parents moved the family to Idaho in 1956, and to Alaska in 1962. Steve returned to Idaho in 1974.
A versatile and intelligent man, Steve worked at a variety of jobs in the region. He managed the Sandpiper Restaurant in Idaho Falls in the 1980s and early 1990s. He was a self-taught geologist, miner, and maker of custom jewelry. Rocks he mined, as well as jewelry he made, were sold all over the world. Locally, he was known as an artist and craftsman who excelled at creating jewelry featuring elk ivory, gemstone-quality plume agate, and other precious stones. Steve’s Prudent Man Mine in the Alder Creek Mining district near Mackay produced gorgeous stone.
Steve was a generous man. He shared his skills with other silversmiths and goldsmiths by creating an archive of instructional videos. See https://www.youtube.com/user/lithohunter, where more than 11,000 subscribers have learned from Steve’s exceptional work.
Steve died of cancer on November 2, 2019, at his home in Idaho Falls, at the age of 68. He is survived by his two children, Eben and Even Howard; and by his siblings, Robert, Lynna, Jerry, Leland, and Kenny Howard. The extended family includes eight nieces and nephews and their families: Krystl Hall, Theo Carpenter, Ara Howard, Dale Howard, Jesse Howard, Mikaela Howard, Hailey Howard, and Matthew Chandronait. Some of Steve’s cousins also live in Idaho and in other western states.
Steve counted many friends as “family.”
“We have all lost a kind and gentle man.”—Caryl Wilson
“I admired him more than anyone I ever met.”—Dick Morris
“Smiling eyes, happy heart, kind soul. Rest in peace.”—Mike Ingram
A celebration of Steve’s life, and the scattering of his ashes, is being planned for the spring/summer of 2020. Condolences may be directed to Even Howard. firstname.lastname@example.org
Memories of Steve, submitted by friends and relatives:
Memories from Barb Howard, Steve’s sister-in-law: The Steve Howard I know and love was a delightful, intelligent, kind, humorous individual; a master chef, master jeweler, creative and kind. He was a generous soul.
Steve shared his knowledge. I recall how early in his rock-gathering/jewelry-making days he gave me an impromptu rock identification lesson. Excited with a pretty rock I had picked up, I asked Steve what it was. He said “leverite.” I was really impressed and asked what that was. With a twinkle in his eye, he gravely replied, “You leave her right there on the ground, nothing special!”
Steve brought his excellent gourmet skills to camp. One time in particular he danced around the campfire, manning multiple dutch ovens, some filled with Cornish game hens, others with potatoes and a grand dessert of some kind. I do remember it was so very delicious and it was offered to us in Steve’s typical, gracious and humble fashion. Another learning opportunity from his days managing the Sandpiper restaurant came when he demonstrated how to stack and carry stemmed wine glasses —up to twenty at a time; good to know for large family gatherings!
He gave me a lifetime warranty for replacement of any jewelry made for me by him. I used that warranty several times over the years. And he made good on it with nary a negative word or complaint that I had lost a treasure. I appreciated that.
The first time I saw trick kites being flown was when Steve launched one in the potato field next to his parents’ home in Idaho Falls. What a thrill to see.
I deeply miss him and his great laugh of pure joy and delight, with mischief just around the corner.
The move to Alaska, as remembered by Harold Conley, a friend and coworker of Steve’s father: Our recollection of you all piling into that pickup and heading to Alaska is based on 2-year-old Kenny. We had a small party for him April 6, 196,2 on his second Birthday. To make room for all you young'uns your folks distributed nonessential items to friends and neighbors. When everything too large or too numerous to haul in the pickup was disposed of, and only "must have for the trip items" were loaded, space was left between the load and topper ceiling for five kids to just barely crawl in and lie down. Only then was the Howard family ready to set out for Alaska. And I believe that was in June 1962, shortly after the end of the school year.
From Dick Morris, a memory of helping at the Prudent Man Mine: An approximately 350 pound piece of Prudent Man seam agate was cleared and ready to pull out of the dig. We set up the chain and used his truck to pull. The first two times the chain came off. On the third try the rock came free, the truck moved fast and stopped quickly. The spare tire bounced out of the truck bed, flew down the hill, crossed the road and landed in the far away wash. We all watched and laughed. The beautiful agate was out and on the ground. Steve named it “Moby Dick”. We retrieved the tire; loaded the rock on the trailer, and Steve took it home.
Memories of Steve submitted by Isabel Waddell, Steve’s cousin: A Renaissance Man
I remember meeting Steve when I was a little girl living in Alaska. We all spent many hours on the bus together as we were transported quite a distance from North Pole to Fairbanks to go to school. Between my brother, 7 cousins, and myself we took up half the bus. For a 4-year old, having my gentle cousin Steve there made me feel safe.
My next opportunity to be around him was when my father was deployed to Vietnam. My mother was close to her brother Cal, and to Aunt Edna, so we moved to Idaho Falls to live near them. It was then that I got an opportunity to spend several weekends in the woods with the Howard clan. As Steve, Leland, and Jerry were teens, they didn’t much want to hang with a 10-year-old. I do remember a few conversations with Steve sitting around the campfire. I felt he sincerely wanted to hear what I had to say.
Fast forward to my young 20s. I came to Idaho to live around Grandma Howard and was happy to also get to know Steve, Leland and Jerry better. This was when I came to appreciate Steve as a Renaissance man. It seemed that he knew so many scholarly things and was a self-taught talent beyond most folks. I was in awe of all the Howards for their tenacity and talents; however, Steve’s capabilities stood out to me.
On top of being talented, he was kind, funny, and gentle with everyone he was around. I joked with him once that he really was “The Most Interesting Man in the World.” He laughed and his eyes twinkled, but he didn’t deny it!
Last year, I was looking for a ring to wear as a reminder of my mother, mother-in-law, and husband. Steve and I worked together to design a lovely ring. I wear it every day. Now it is also a reminder of my love for a cousin who I did not see enough of, but who is forever in my heart.
Memories of Steve submitted by Ron Krishnek: We spent so many hours together, talking about every topic known to man. We worked side by side doing what we loved, comparing notes every inch of the way. We had so many things in common it was uncanny. Meeting on the Prudent Man hill was icing on the cake. When I saw him working his claim and walked up to him and told him that I had staked a claim up above him about half a mile and named it the Indulgent Man because the Indulgent Man looks down on the Prudent Man, and he laughed, I knew that we would become friends. That was a lot of years ago but it seems like yesterday.
I’m better man for having known him, he showed me how to go under with class and dignity. Our final conversations and his last handshake are treasures to me.
Further on down the road, Steve, we will accompany you.
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