When the clock struck four he grabbed his Eagles sweatshirt, alternated between his floppy hat, his Seahawks hat or his Remedy Shoppe stocking cap, grabbed his walker (where he carefully attached a license plate, and cup holder for his beer) and proclaimed it was time to go “check his emails” before heading out the door.  

 Skagway residents might have seen him making rest stops at the Catholic Church bench, the library bench and a few more on the way to the Elks or Eagles – both only four blocks from his home. Like the bar in the sitcom Cheers, the clubs are places where everyone knows your name.    

 “Hey Howard, how are you?”

 “Well, they let me out of prison again,” he would say with a grin, slipping his beer in his personalized koozie and sipping away.

   Howard was diagnosed with dementia, but his long-term memory of sipping beers, playing pool, darts, and even the location of the clubs was cemented in his long-term memory. He couldn’t always recall how many beers he had, so he agreed to be allowed one beer per hour. When one club cut him off, he would shuffle to the next club hoping to get there before the bartenders communicated. Some people would “sneak” him an extra beer and he would put his finger to his mouth like it was their secret.  

 “Don’t tell Judy.” But she knew. He didn’t hide anything from his wife.   

 If you were lucky, while bellied up to the bar he would share stories of living life his way. He was confident, generous, fair, passionate, opinionated and armed with a plethora of one-liners.   

 Howard Mallory was born to Cecilia (Kubis) Mallory and Archibald Mallory in Anoka, Minnesota in 1940. He was one of five boys: Dale, Norman, Howard, Clyde and Roy. His family moved to Medora, North Dakota, home of the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the Medora Musical at the outdoor amphitheater, where he spent his adolescent years.  

After graduating second in his class from high school, Howard traveled to Wahpeton, now known as North Dakota State College of Science, where he graduated with a degree in civil engineering, specializing in surveying and materials testing.  

He served in the North Dakota National Guard but was quickly hired by the North Dakota Department of Transportation (DOT). Later Texas DOT recruited him to work on a tunnel in Big Bend National Park, but it was the State of Alaska DOT’s offer to help build a road in Valdez after the 1964 Earthquake that brought him to his dream job.

After years of reading Robert Service, Howard found his home. From the moment he stepped foot in Alaska he would say, “If Alaska isn’t heaven, I don’t want to go.”  

 He was there to build the road from “Old Valdez” to “New Valdez.” Socializing, part of his nature, led him to a young independent, fiery redhead. He was in his dream place and now he had met his dream girl, Judy Kohake. They were married in Kelly, Kansas.

While in Valdez (1965-1968) he worked on multiple jobs around the state. He relocated to Juneau (1968-1974) where his jobs included laying out Egan Drive. He became a father to his first son, Wayne, in Juneau. In Sitka, he was on a 24-hour concrete pour while building the Sitka bridge. He rushed to the hospital during breaks to check on his wife who gave birth to their second son, Scott. 

He moved back to Juneau where he became a father for the third time, to his girl, Tara. 

Howard moved to Yakutat, building a road to a river, and helping with several ferry terminal jobs over the years.

Frustrated with the inefficiency of government jobs, he leaned back on his entrepreneurial spirit.  Mallory started a sandblasting and power washing company and the first carwash and gas station in town. He sold it to Perseverance Glass in the 1990s.

He was a proud libertarian. In 1980 he ran for Alaska State House on the Libertarian ticket with Sioux Plummer (previous owner of Skagway Inn) as his campaign manager. He picketed to abolish taxes, showed up almost weekly on the Problem Corner radio show and wrote numerous letters to both the Juneau Empire and The Skagway News. He was friends with almost every governor of Alaska since Egan.

 In tough times he drove trucks for Foss Alaska (1981). An engineering firm took him back to Sitka in 1982. There he introduced Dennis Carlson (his brother-in-law) to Judy’s sister Bobbie; it was a proud cupid moment. Dennis, also an engineer, described what Howard did.

“It was complicated … inspections, soil sampling, radiation detection, run gradation, densitometer work, lab work, surveying, field testing mains, concrete cylinder testing. He did it all,” Carlson said.

While in Sitka he started Construction Technical Services, contracting with several engineering firms around Alaska. From 1985-1986 Mallory returned to Juneau to work

on the wastewater treatment plant and interceptor sewers, but Skagway was calling.

Skagway needed him to refurbish the border station and lay out new sewer lines. When word got out Howard was a surveyor, job offers increased to designing and surveying the White Pass & Yukon Route railroad yard curve, an accomplishment he pointed out every time he drove by. 

There was no place to sleep in Skagway. Mallory bought an Airstream, a piece of land and started building Mile Zero Bed and Breakfast, laying the foundation in 1993. It opened in 1995.

Howard wintered in Juneau and summered in Skagway until the B&B was built. While in Juneau he drove school buses and hosted hundreds of people in Juneau when they were stuck in town due to weather. It wasn’t uncommon for his family to come home to multiple strangers at the dinner table or sleeping on the floor.

When the housing shortage led to building Mile Zero B&B, his wife, Judy, protested.

“If you think I’m going to cook and clean when I retire, you have another thing coming,” she said.  

“No problem, I’ll do it,” Mallory replied. And he did.

His regular morning coffee inspectors dropped by to hear what was happening in town. Buddies from around the state would overnight, filling the house with laughter and beer. He talked about wanting B&B to stand for bed and beer.  

Mallory bought two motorcycles, a Kawasaki 350, and Honda 250, which he proudly called Hardly and Barely. He scoffed at the need for more power and snickered as he parked Hardly by all the fancy Harleys that came to town.

He took second place in the Eagle’s famous chili cook off. After revealing with a snicker that he had just bought a big can of chili and dumped it in a crockpot, he caught an earful. Rules were changed (created) … no more canned chili in the cook off.

Tired of cleaning and being tied down by the B&B, Mallory sold it to Tara in 2004. He was a morning person so at 6 a.m. sharp he would show up at the B&B to chop fruit and help put breakfast out so he could sit and have his “heart starter” (cup of coffee) with her. He teased it should later be turned into a Pioneer Home so he could move in.

For several years, he would take his Airstream or motorcoach and road trek across America to visit family and friends. 

In 2006 Howard started personalized tours to the Yukon. Sinatra’s song, “My way” was among his favorites, so he named his tour company “ALCAN MYWAY.” For years he would work with Dyea Dave (another character in town) referring passengers back and forth.

Giving up driving was not something he accepted lightly. When Skagway told him he couldn’t take the test, he had someone drive him to Haines where he renewed his license.  

Mallory knew people talked a lot about themselves so he would listen, greeting everyone with a smile and a one-liner. All the women got compliments, but they would rarely know much about him. He held his family close to his heart. When his grandkids were born, he was there as soon as possible.

He loved new technology and having the newest gadgets. He loved his family, friends, politics, socializing, fire pits, camping, nature, pedicures, Robert Service, darts, pool, poker, hunting, fishing and salt. He was a Mason, Eagle, Elk, Moose, Libertarian, engineer, entrepreneur, husband, father, grandfather, uncle, cousin and in-law. He thought he would die at 62, so at 63 everyday was a bonus. 

“Heaven is my home, I’m just here on a visit,” Mallory would say. 

The Old Man who shuffled to the bar had a story, but in the end, he was more interested in yours.

 Mallory’s dementia progressed and infections set in to where he was no longer mobile. His family surrounded him in the comfort of his home, where he passed on April 4 at 11:45 p.m. 

 Please join the family at the following events. 

JUNEAU: May 9, 2 p.m. at the Shrine of St. Therese. Howard will be laid to rest at the columbarium, his condo on the water.

SKAGWAY: May 13 at the Eagles and Elks from 4 to 8 p.m. Raise a koozied can of PBR or Rainier to the man who shuffled to the bar. Let’s snicker at life’s idiosyncrasies, care about each other’s stories, wipe our tears with handkerchiefs and eat some canned chili.  

 Howard is survived by his wife, Judy, of 55 years, his children Wayne (Fabiana) Mallory and granddaughter Anna; Scott (Lori) Mallory, and granddaughter Samantha; Tara (Sam) Bass, and grandchildren Millie and Henry. Brother Roy Mallory and family, 17 nieces and nephews and 34 great nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his mother Cecilia, father Archibald Mallory and his brothers Dale, Norman, and Clyde.