Howard Skavdahl

Howard Skavdahl – patriarch, pioneer, WWII veteran, aeronautical engineer, man of faith, devoted husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather, died Sept. 19, 2019.

Howard was born April 8, 1923, to homesteaders Oscar and Grace (Wickersham) Skavdahl. He spent much of his youth on “the ranch” in Harrison, Neb., molding his faith and can-do work ethic. Howard, always fascinated by air travel, joined the Army Corps during WWII serving as a meteorologist from January 1943 through May 1946, including time in England, France and Germany.

He continued in the reserves after WWII, eventually retiring as a major in June of 1965. Post-war he completed a degree at the Aeronautical Engineering School at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Colo., followed by an engineering job at Boeing Corporation in Seattle where he met his wife, Eloise Hale Mitchell of Edmonds, Wash.

Howard and Eloise were married on Sept. 12, 1950. She joined Howard in Pasadena, Calif., to complete his master’s degree from the California Institute of Technology, followed by working for the Rand Corporation with a return to Seattle and work for Boeing in 1961. Together they raised 3 children: Howard Kirby, William Hale and Jonathan Lowell and managed a lovely home near Seattle in Lake Forest Park, Wash.

Beloved wife and mother, Eloise, died Feb. 1, 1989. At Boeing, he was the chief technical engineer for NASA on two airplanes, and worked on the 747, the 757, the 767, and the 777 propulsion systems. He was head of the Propulsion Research Department for ten years prior to his retirement in 1990. At the introduction by his sister, Mabel, Howard met and married Jane Holmgren, of Harrison, Neb., Feb. 1, 2001 and together they traveled, spending much of their time at their rustic cabin in the mountains near Grangeville, Idaho. For both, these were joyful, golden years filled with faith, friends and family and all the scenery and wildlife of Idaho.

Howard lost his dear wife and friend, Jane, on July 20, 2016. Howard touched so many lives in such a positive way, but would be the first one to say he was the one who was blessed by each. We are truly grateful for our time spent with Howard and comforted to know he is at peace with his Lord and Savior.

Howard was preceded in passing by his parents, Oscar and Grace, and his siblings: Susie, Floyd, Mabel, Pearl and Anne (the twins), and Harold. He is survived by his three sons: Kirby (Connie), Bill (Susie) and Jon (Diane); his ten grandchildren: David, Lisa, Mark, Nathan, Joel, Ian, Isaac, Catharine, Alex, and Morgan; and his nine great-grandchildren: Noa, Maria, Micah, Anica, Makaio, Kealani, Koa, Georgia and Celeste.

Services will be held Saturday, Oct. 12, in Kennewick, Wash., at West Highlands United Methodist Church, 17 S Union St, at 3 p.m. with viewing from 1-3 p.m. at the same location. Howard’s body will be laid to rest at the Arlington National Cemetery with military honors at a date and time to be determined. Donations in Howard’s memory may be given to: Memorial Fund, West Highlands United Methodist Church, 17 S Union St, Kennewick, Wash. 99336. The family invites you to sign their online guest book at

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