Obituaries & Tributes

Howard Emory Speer

Feb. 23, 1936 – Nov. 12, 2022

Howard Emory Speer was born Feb. 23,1936 in Newberg, Oregon to John Emory and Bessie May Speer. He was the 10th of 12 children and spent his early years growing up in Newberg. 

Later, his family moved to a farm near Aumsville, Ore.. Howard graduated from Cascade High School where he participated in football, basketball and baseball. He was honored to play on an American Legion Junior Baseball team which won the State Title. During his senior year he was named the Athlete of the Year, and through his sports activities he developed friendship’s that lasted throughout his lifetime.

Howard also participated in the Future Farmers of America (FFA) throughout his high school years. He spoke often of his trip by train to the FFA convention in the Midwest.

Howard attended Oregon State University and played baseball for OSU as both a catcher and an outfielder. He was the first member of his family to attend college and put himself through school by working various jobs. Howard transferred to Willamette University where he continued playing baseball and earned both a baccalaureate degree as well as an LLB in Law. During his final year at Willamette, Howard, he met his lifelong love, Sharon Forrest; they were married in December of 1961.

Howard served in the Judge Advocate General Corp of the US Army and was stationed at the Pentagon from 1961 to 1964. He also earned a master’s degree in taxation from Georgetown University while serving in the Army. In 1964, he and his wife returned to Oregon with their newborn to join a law practice in Eugene, as an associate. 

In the 1960s, Howard taught Business Law at University of Oregon for one year. He served on a committee which formed the Home Health Agency of Lane County and on the Eugene Sports Program (ESP). After a few years he created his own firm, that subsequently became known as Speer, Jones, Poppe and Wolf, Lawyers P.C. In his much later years the firm merged and became Speer Hoyt.

Howard retired from practicing law full time at the age of 70, though he continued assisting clients part-time while he enjoyed being semi-retired from Palm Springs, Calif. He was a 50-year member of the Oregon State Bar and served on the Professional Responsibility Committee for several years. After his retirement, he enjoyed volunteering his legal services with SCORE.

Howard Speer was first and foremost a family man. He enjoyed the great outdoors, his interests included farming, backpacking, skiing, tennis, fly fishing and golf. Howard truly loved living in the country, building the barn, the fences and tending the animals. 

He enjoyed sharing his love of athletics and the life skills learned from being on a team with his children. If he wasn’t coaching his youngsters in the ESP baseball, softball, and basketball teams, he was cheering them on at sporting events and performances. Howard backpacked along the Pacific Crest trail, hiked to the top of the Middle Sister, South Sister, Mount St. Helens, and Diamond Peak with family and friends. He enjoyed fishing in Oregon for several years; then he loved floating his drift boat down the McKenzie River. One of his fondest highlights was a salmon fly fishing excursion to Alaska on the Kenai Peninsula with his close friend and his brother-in-law.

Howard also enjoyed traveling throughout the United States and abroad, and he was fortunate enough to have visited all 50 states. Howard and Sharon traveled overseas to Europe, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, Canada and Mexico. In 2011, for their 50th Anniversary, they took a cruise of the Baltic countries and visited his ancestor’s homeland of Sweden.

Howard was a member of the US Tennis Association, the Vagabond Golfers, and Emerald Valley Senior Men’s Golf; he played competitive golf throughout his later years.

Howard is survived by his wife Sharon, his sister Margaret Clarkson, his children, Heidi Speer, Garet Speer and Shana Speer, as well as his grandchildren: Jessica (James), Taneisha, Kayla (John), Austin, Cameron, and Jillian.

A Celebration of Life will be held on Nov. 26, 2022 at 2pm at the Creswell Presbyterian Church, 75 S. 4th St. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the American Heart Association.



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