The Seward Phoenix Log - News of the Eastern Kenai Peninsula since 1966

Herman Harold Leite


Herman Harold Leite, known by family and friends as Howie, age 83, passed away in Seward on Feb. 2, 2013.

Born in Kodiak to Alexandra Gongo(off) Leite of Kodiak and Kristian Harold Leite of Norway on Sept. 4, 1929. Howie was the youngest of 10 children. His father died when he was an infant and mother passed away when he was 10 years old. Howie was sent to the Jesse Lee Home in Seward and was there at the outbreak of World War II. Soon after, he was sent to live with his older sisters and lived in Kodiak to finish his high school education. In 1948, after graduation, he enlisted in the Army and was sent to occupied Germany serving in the 507th Engineers Heavy Shop Company, achieving the rank of sergeant and received a Good Conduct Medal when he left service in 1952.

Returning to Kodiak, Howie joined the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) 302 as a heavy equipment operator. He was a member of the union for 60 years. Howie was involved in many construction jobs including building roads, highways, schools and airports with many of his years working for Brechan Enterprises of Kodiak, SS Mullins, Wilder and others. He was also part of the Cat Train that traveled over the tundra during the winter, with the surveyors prior to the construction of the Trans-Alaska Pipeline.

In 1952, Howie married Helen Roberta Scroogs (deceased 1986) and raised three children, all still living, Kristian Leite of Woodway, Wash., Mary Tougas of Seward and Judi Thompson of Kodiak. He has six grandchildren; Sonja Leite, Hailey Thompson and Paul, Melissa, Joe and Rachel Tougas. Three great-grandchildren of Paul and April Tougas; Isla, age 4, Abel, age 2 and newborn Eben.

In the mid ‘70s Howie married Irene Smith and has two living step-daughters, Kristy Hansen of Ninilchik and Karen Rotschy of Amboy, Wash. with several step-grandchildren and great-grandchildren who know him as grandpa.

After his wife Irene’s passing in 2004, Howie moved to Seward, to be with his daughter Mary, her husband Tom and four of his grandchildren. During the eight years in Seward, Howie lived in an apartment close to family, drove his car every day around town- making his rounds and was a constant at the dinner table in the Tougas home. He loved being back in Alaska and the chance to be close to family, getting to know his grandchildren and being part of the arrival of his great-grandchildren. He enjoyed fishing and travel while living in Seward, making trips to Hawaii three times and two cruise ship vacations.

He passed peacefully in Seward, at the Providence Seward Medical & Care Center with family and friends close by.

He is survived by two sisters, Selma Parsons of Washington state and Margret Haynes of California.

At his request, he will be cremated and his ashes spread in Kodiak close to where he was raised and where he raised his family. A wake will be held in his memory from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23 at Chinooks in Seward and another will be held in Kodiak this spring.

In lieu of flowers donations may be sent, with a note that it is in his memory, to the Kodiak Baptist Mission (a 501(c)(3) non-profit working with Kodiak youth ) at: Kodiak Baptist Mission, 1944 East Rezanof Drive, Kodiak, AK 99615.


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