Howard Tarte Davenport

May 15, 1912 – May 20, 2015

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Howard Tarte Davenport passed away May 20, 2015, 5 days after his 103rd birthday.  He was born May 15, 1912 to Noah Cleveland Davenport and Clara Ellen (Tarte) Davenport at Unalaska, Alaska Territory.  His mother and father kept a detailed diary for the two years they lived there and wrote about that very special day.  His father wrote, late that night, "This day will be a memorable one to us for all time. Our boy came this evening at 10:00 o'clock."  Howard was 6 weeks old when his family left Unalaska and moved back to Whatcom County, Washington, where all of his grandparents lived.  A short time later his family moved to Seattle, where he lived the next 93 years in the Rainier Beach area of South Seattle.

He was preceded in death by his wife of nearly 60 years, Isabella Mary Davenport.  He is survived by his 3 children: Janice Robinson (Arthur) of Dupont, Washington, Howard K. Davenport (Sharon) of Kent, Washington, and Janet Rosa of Jacksonville, Florida; 5 grandchildren and 8 great-grandchildren.  He was preceded in death by his younger siblings: Robert Davenport, James Davenport, and Margaret Boaz.

Howard learned to play a cello when he was 14 years old, and continued playing it throughout much of his adult life.  In the 1930's he joined a group of musicians who played Christian music on KVL radio.  The Radio Gospel Train would broadcast from the 42nd story of the Smith Tower in downtown Seattle.

Howard attended the University of Washington, where he earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree and Secondary Teaching Certificate in Education in 1949.  He majored in History and minored in English.  He taught in the Seattle School District, at Rainier Beach High School, as a Language Arts teacher until his retirement at the age of 65 in 1977.

Howard held several different jobs during his lifetime.  He delivered the P.I. newspaper as a school boy, worked at Boeing, had several other odd jobs, and finally settled on a teaching career for the last 17 years before retiring.

Howard loved to read, study, and teach the Bible.  In 1947 he received a Bachelor   of Theology Degree from Anderson College and Theological Seminary in Anderson, Indiana.  He loved going to church and over the years led many Bible Study groups.  He came to live with his son Howard K when he was 93 years old. At the age of 95, in 2007, he was still leading a Bible Study at the Presbyterian Church at Rainier Beach.

Howard met Isabelle Kirkland, who lived in Ohio, in 1935.  She had come to Seattle to visit her relatives, who were friends of the Davenport family.  They were married June 18, 1940 at her family home in Amsterdam, Ohio.  When they were on their way home to Seattle, after the wedding, they were one of the first automobiles to cross the newly constructed floating bridge over Lake Washington.   When he and Isabelle retired from teaching, they enjoyed traveling to many places including England, Scotland, Australia, Alaska, and Hawaii.  They also took many road trips around the United States.

During the last few years, Howard's vision deteriorated.  Macular Degeneration affected his ability to read; the one thing he really loved to do.

In 2014, at the age of 102, Howard lived in his own apartment at Merrill Gardens, a senior community, in Renton, Washington.  We want to thank them for the wonderful care they, and his special care-givers, provided for him.


Emily Valencia
Kent, Washington
Jun 3, 2015

I served Howard most mornings at Merrill Garden for the last 7 months. Although I was just a server and nothing really to him, he truly touched my heart and I will miss him for a long time to come. Whenever i caught him smiling at me or being open with his past it would make my day worth while. RIP Howard, as you join your wife and family

Frank Tordillos
Issaquah, WA
May 28, 2015

My sincere condolences and prayers to the Davenport family. After reading his obituary, I can see that Howard T. Davenport lived a full, faithful and fruitful life in loving and serving God, family and community. He set a wonderful example of discipleship and service to his children, grandchildren and to his community. May your memories of him give you comfort, joy, and hope.

Wayne Lau
SEATTLE, Washington
May 27, 2015

I don't recall having Mr. Davenport as an English teacher at Rainier Beach, but I do remember him as a gentleman and a man of God. Janet, you may remember how I rode in your car to a christian conference somewhere in Central Washington. For the family, please take comfort that your Dad lived a very long and fruitful life, one that now he will receive his Heavenly reward and rest.

Cal Crow
Seattle, WA
May 27, 2015

I first met Howard when we were on the faculty that helped open Rainier Beach Junior-Senior High School in 1960. Always the gentleman, Howard was one of the kindest, most modest, most even-tempered and most unflappable men I have known.

He and Isabelle also raised three great children who attended "The Beach." What a legacy he leaves! Godspeed, Howard. Cal Crow

Patricia McShea
Seattle, WA
May 27, 2015

I attended RBHS while Mr. Davenport taught there. I never had him as a teacher but was in the same grade as Janet. Please accept my condolences. What an impressive long life! Such an inspiration.

Brian & Becky Wissler
Citrus Springs, FL
May 27, 2015

We are keeping all of your family in our hearts and prayers for their earthly loss of you at this time. We are so blessed to know that you are with the Lord and those that have gone before you.

Janice spoke so highly of you and we could see the love in her eyes and hear it in her voice when she spoke of her daddy.

God bless.

Larry M Watts
Everson, WA
May 27, 2015

I admired your father. As you grieve you can rejoice for him. Blessings to you.

Debbie Johnson
Covington, WA
May 27, 2015

Mr. Davenport, you were a great teacher and I really love being in your class. I was able to tell you that when we starting going to RBPC. You and Isabella are together again. Thanks again for being such a wonderful teacher.

Dale & Linda Kirkland
North Port, FL
May 27, 2015

Uncle Howard was a blessing to all. His quiet thoughtful studious manner came ringing through in his letters and in visits with him. I had the deepest respect for him.

Our deepest sympathy is extended to his children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

Jennie L. Mikkelsen
Wellston, MI
May 27, 2015

Such a nice write up. His life blessed so many. Thank-yiou, Uncle Howard for your love and kindness..

Priscilla (Davis) Wood
Shoreline, WA
May 26, 2015

I remember the Davenport family from many years ago from church activities. Amazing that he was able to live so long. Blessings to his surviving family members.

Passtor Roger Smith & Jackie Smith
Kent, , WA
May 26, 2015

If I could sum up my experience with Howard it would be this--"He always did his homework"' This comes from years of teaching in school and teaching from his favorite Book the Bible. He was gracious as a friend, loving as a husband and above all patient in a world that wants instant gratification and wants everything "fixed right now". When you met Howard and Isabella there was an aura of God's peace that fairly flowed from their presence.. If you were to ask them of where they found this Peace they would always point to Christ.

Of course we will see Howard and Isabella again and in a real sense they are both already a part of the "cloud of witnesses that cheer us on "as we run the race that is before us." Well done, good and faithful servants." See you in the morning.. RAS

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