Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

Formation and Education for the Life of the Church

Alumni Obituaries

Howard Piper, Jr.

Howard Piper Jr., a longtime resident of Bottle Bay Road and an active member of St. Joseph's Catholic Church, died June 2 , 2006, at his home of complications from melanoma. He was 58.

Rosary will be held at 7 p.m. on Thursday, June 8, 2006, and the funeral Mass will be held at 11 a.m. on Friday, June 9, 2006 at St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Sandpoint with the Rev. Dennis Day officiating.

Piper lived near Sagle for more than 25 years in a home he designed on Lake Pend Oreille. He was a devoted member of St. Joseph's where, among other causes, he spent long hours as a weekly volunteer in the church's soup kitchen for more than 20 years. In past years he was also active in the Panhandle Environmental League.
Born in Lock Haven, Pa., "Chip" Piper was a grandson of William T. Piper Sr., founder of the Piper Aircraft Co., and son of the late Howard "Pug" Piper and Helen Piper, of Wichita, Kan.

As a child, he enjoyed taking family vacations to Europe and other destinations aboard small airplanes piloted by his father. Growing up in this family of aviation pioneers, earning a pilot's license was almost a right of passage. Piper received his license at a young age and flew his own Piper Twin Comanche throughout the United States and Mexico.

Following graduation from Lock Haven High School, he attended the Hill School in Pottstown, Pa., for a post-graduate year of study before enrolling at Harvard University, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree. He later received a master of arts degree in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame. Other studies included one year in Geneva, Switzerland, during the 1970s.

Friends and family knew Piper as a free spirit who pursued with vigor his interests in philosophy and religion. Those interests eventually led him to North Idaho, where he taught philosophy and ethics at Gonzaga University and Fort Wright College in Spokane and at Northern Idaho College.

Piper enjoyed few things more than engaging in lively discussions with friends and colleagues on philosophical themes. In pursuit of those interests, he devoted many years to writing a book of personal reflections about religion. Sadly, it was his profound regret that he was unable to complete the project.

He was married to the former Barbara Day; they later divorced, but remained close friends.

Aside from his mother, he is also survived by a sister, Pat Piper-Smyer of Wellesley, Mass.; a brother, David, of Oaxaca, Mexico; a son, Cory; a daughter, Olivia; and a daughter, Denay.