Bruce M Howard February 14, 1941 – February 7, 2023

Bruce M Howard, a proud lifelong Whidbey Islander, passed away at home surrounded by family on February 7, 2023, at the age of 81.

Bruce, or “Bru” as he was affectionately known by his many friends, was born in 1941 at Swedish Hospital in Seattle to Barbara and Floyd Howard. The deep roots of the Howard family on South Whidbey were first set in 1951, when Barbara and Floyd moved the family to the Island to start a new life, four kids in tow.

The family settled into a house across from Mutiny Bay Resort, where Bruce, his older brother David, and his younger brother Paul soon got jobs working at the Resort, gassing up and prepping rental boats for guests. Bruce’s sister Joyce, eight years younger, spent her time surveying the boys’ progress constructing their treehouse, complete with a rope ladder that was yanked up whenever she approached.

The Howards then moved to a cabin on Pioneer Corner and across from Bayview Cemetery. It was at Pioneer Corner where Floyd Howard established his real estate office that played a role in Langley and South Whidbey’s growth during the 1950s and 1960s. Today, Howard Road in Bayview honors the family’s long-standing stature in the area.

Bruce attended and graduated from Langley High School, where he was a renowned football player, athlete, and Homecoming King. Following graduation, he spent summers fishing in Alaska before joining the U.S. Marines in [1968]. Bruce served four years in Okinawa, Japan, where he was instrumental in operating the Officer’s Club before being honorably discharged and returning to the U.S.

Bruce’s later years on South Whidbey were personified by his entrepreneurial spirit, daredevil nature and overall passion for life among friends and loved ones. His creativity was boundless, a master tinkerer, he was always thinking ‘outside the box’ to solve a problem.

He leveraged his love of games to become the founder of a successful online business that produces custom-made cribbage boards to customers across the United States. Bruce was proud of his place in the cribbage board industry, primarily among members of the U.S. Military who were among his frequent customers.

Bruce was never one to turn down a bet, which often led to some crazy events. During high school, he met a challenge to sneak onto and dive off the top of the ferry boat while it was docked on the island. But perhaps the most infamous bet was that he couldn’t water ski around the Island. Bruce slalomed on one ski starting from Columbia Beach up the Island and through Deception Pass, then made it halfway down the other side before his quads gave out — making it three-quarters around Whidbey!

In 1984, he met his future wife Sally at Bush Point, where she had employed Bruce to play the piano at Buzz’s Wharf. They became friends and bonded over a mutual passion for music and sports. The two were married July 27, 1985 at Bush Point and settled in Freeland. They loved nothing more than hosting friends and family, with Bruce often conjuring up a BBQ feast. Their traditional July 3 rd parties brought revelry to their deck overlooking Holmes Harbor, where potluck BBQs would give way to watching fireworks over the water. And Seahawks gamedays were often spent at the Whidbey Island Eagles Hall cheering along with friends decked in ‘12’ gear.

Above all, Bruce’s passion for life came through his musical expression. A natural-born entertainer, he was blessed with the God-given talent of perfect pitch and ability to play piano despite never learning to read music. Gatherings would inevitably find him sitting behind the piano, riffing on a jazz vamp or leading friends in a sing-along. It’s no surprise one of his favorite songs was Sinatra’s “My Way,” for he lived life on his own terms that reflected what he truly valued – compassion, creativity, kindness and love. He personified the saying of ‘never met a stranger’.

His family and friends will miss his wit and his gift for writing humorous Limericks and Poems, as often they were the subject and recipient of his talent. His friends will remember him as a kind, engaging and dedicated friend, always ready and willing to lend a helping hand. He will be sorely missed.

Bruce is pre-deceased by his brothers David and Paul, and son Ryan.

Bruce is survived by his spouse Sally (Sarah) Howard and sister, Joyce. He is also survived his brother David’s family: wife Joan and children Sheryl, Lonn, Layne and Kevin; by brother Paul’s family, wife Patti and sons Estevan and Daniel Munoz- Howard, and by his sister Joyce’s family including husband Dennis, Derek and Julie.

A celebration of life service is scheduled for August 18,2023 at 1:30pm at the Whidbey Eagles Hall, 16691 Hwy 525, Freeland. In lieu of flowers, if desired, donations can be made to the American Cancer Society (

When time should come for me to sleep

Do you cry – or call the barkeep?

Go, do both….. I’ll buy the first round

You wipe your tears & watch smiles abound,

Damn right… That is what you will do,

have some fun for me and celebrate Bru

Remember me, as best you can, as I will always be

‘Da Piano Man*

*Bruce Howard