Cover photo for Gunnar Ty Howarth's Obituary

Gunnar Ty Howarth

Gunnar Ty Howarth

Gunnar Ty Howarth, 49, of Eagle and White Bird, Idaho, died after a three-month illness on Thursday, August 6, 2020 at his home in White Bird overlooking the beautiful Salmon River.

Gunnar was born on January 22, 1971 to Dr. Charles H. and Tonia L. Howarth and came into the world to help others and bring laughter to those around him. He was a very smart, adorable and precocious little guy who used his natural born gifts to get what he wanted, most of the time. While he loved all of his family, he especially loved spending time with his dad and his Papa Willard, learning to hunt, fish and respect the outdoors from a very young age. One winter day, as he was putting on his coat, his dad asked him, "Where are you going?" to which Gunnar replied, "Wherever you're going, Dad."

During his elementary school years, Gunnar was easily bored, and found many ways to entertain himself and others, which included a lot of good-hearted teasing. His kindergarten teacher, who described Gunnar as "one of a few very gifted children" she had worked with summed it up perfectly when she wrote on his report card, "Gunnar tests me continually to see if I really mean what I say and he pushes every rule to the limit without really breaking it."

As Gunnar got older, he spent many summers in Joseph, Oregon with his Papa Willard, hiking, fishing, and hunting for arrowheads around Wallowa Lake. It was in Joseph during junior high that Gunnar discovered girls. We'll just leave it at that… In high school, Gunnar ran track and was very well liked by both his classmates and teachers. He was elected Senior Class President by a landslide.

After graduating from Meridian High School in 1989, Gunnar attended a year of college at Boise State University which confirmed what he already knew; sitting at a desk was not for him. When he got a summer job with an electrician, his dad asked the business owner to give Gunnar the work that no one else wanted to do, hoping it would convince Gunnar to return to college. It didn't work. Gunnar loved the work and went on to become a licensed electrician. But eventually, years of driving around looking at land with his Dad rubbed off on him. He had learned from the best how to negotiate deals and buy real estate, so he transitioned his focus to land and became a licensed realtor.

Gunnar was a strong man of few words, but also a very generous, empathetic and tender-hearted man who loved helping others more than anything. He felt others' pain and always tried to help them, even if that meant he had to make up a story to trick them into accept the help he was offering.

Although Gunnar treasured his freedom and time alone, he had many friends, which he was reminded of every year on his birthday when he received phone calls and text messages all day long. He was a master at practical jokes, and no one was spared. Some of his family's favorites include buying big red tomatoes at the grocery store and super gluing them to a friend's tomato plants and spray-painting small rocks gold and placing them on the beach for his nephew to find. And as the recipient became aware of the joke, Gunnar laughed from deep down within, with a belly laugh that still rings in our ears and will be so deeply missed.

Gunnar chose not to marry or have children of his own, but he was an extremely caring uncle. He loved holding his nieces and nephews when they were babies and occasionally cared for them around the clock. As they got older, he was the fun uncle. He was also known to teach the little ones something naughty as a practical joke on his siblings. One of Gunnar's favorite things to do was to show up at his sister's house with a handful of coins and exclaim, "Who wants to dive for dollars?" After throwing the coins in the pool, he delighted in watching the competitive mayhem that ensued. When the kids reached high school and some of them faced challenging times, Gunnar was in the background supporting them and loving them as his own. And even as young adults, he wanted to care for them, offering to cook for them and vacuum pack the food so he could send them to college with home cooked meals.

Gunnar was a devoted son who took an active role in caring for his parents as they aged. When his dad became too old to operate his ocean fishing boat, Gunnar accompanied him to Ucluelet, British Columbia, on many occasions to do all the heavy work and operate the boat. And to the very end of his dad's life, Gunnar was teasing him and playing practical jokes on him, and his dad wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

Gunnar is survived by his sisters Codi (Clint) Bolinder, Melissa (Tom) Weedn, his brother Matthew (Patty) Howarth, nine nieces and nephews, his best friends, Jake and Jon Miller, and his adventurous black lab, Katie. He was proceeded in death by his parents, Chuck and Tonia Howarth, and his beloved black lab, Ruby. We would like to thank all of Gunnar's friends in White Bird, especially Brian Lowe, who checked in on him frequently during his final days. In lieu of flowers, please join Gunnar's family in honoring his memory by helping someone in need. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, no services are planned at this time. Please check for updates.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Gunnar Ty Howarth, please visit our flower store.


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