Howard Lavern Norskog was born Feb. 14, 1933, in Gebo, Wyo., to Joseph Ray and Mildred M. Norskog. He was called home by his heavenly Father on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013, in Lewiston.
Howard was gifted with a love for people and a passion for life. He had an extraordinary talent to find and bring out the best in his friends.
Howard was raised in Wyoming on a ranch working as a cowboy and he became interested in storytelling and poetry. He served in Korea with the 300th Armored Field Artillery Battalion, Cowboy Cannoneers. His military record was outstanding, decorated many times for bravery from France, Korea, the United Nations, the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army.
One of his passions was boxing, and he was a four-time runner-up for the All Military Championship in the 139 weight class. He coached several nationally ranked boxers and national champions, culminating in coach of the year in the 1993 Snake River Association and then head coach for the Pan American Games.
With a background in horses and ranching, bull riding became another passion and he ranked as high as 17th in the world. Loving to swap stories with cowboys and drawing on his heritage from his American Indian ancestors, Howard was off on another passion, cowboy poetry. He performed at the first Cowboy Gathering in Elko, Nev., in 1985 and won the national championship in 1998, followed by years of touring in America and Canada with Dean Wadsworth writing, reciting and performing more than 900 poems and ballads.
Howard and his wife, Darleane, have left a legacy of the Christian Cowboy Balladeers in three states, with seven chapters taking cowboy churches to hundreds of people.
His retirement years were spent helping his friends at the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars doing what he loved best, blessing people with his poetry, music and serving God.
He was preceded in death by his father, Joseph Ray Norskog; mother, Mildred M. Kelly; stepfather, Elmer Kelly; sisters Dorothy Wilkey, Belle Harvey and Florance Miller; and grandson Jeffrey Lax.
He is survived by his wife, Darleane; daughter, Mell (Scott) Murdoch; stepsons Chuck (Deb) and Jeff (Lill) Froehlich; stepdaughter Wendy (Daniel) Salazar; brothers Floyd (Ruth) Norskog and Lee (Deanie) Kelly; granddaughters Andria (Will) Wood, Kamryn Murdock, Donna (Jarrett) Widdison and Amanda Gonzales; grandsons Nathan, Jacob Mathew and Travis (Nicole) Froehlich, and Michael Cody Lax; and 13 great-grandchildren.
The memorial service will be 2 p.m. Feb. 2 at the Salvation Army, 1220 21st St., Lewiston.
Please bring a covered dish to share after the service. In lieu of flowers, please make donations to St. Joseph's Hospice, Salvation Army or American Legion Post 27.