Eugene "Hap" Hapala
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August 30, 1932 ~ February 3, 2018

Born on the early Dust Bowl prairie of Ludden, ND, with "Sisu" Finnish-American grit in his blood, former Evergreen School District coach and administrator, Eugene "Hap" Hapala, died Feb. 3 after a rich life devoted to his family; framed by his Christian faith; and inspired by his commitment to teaching and sports. He was 85.

A "call me Hap" kind of guy, Hapala was known locally as a P.E teacher, football coach and athletic director during his 1959-1989 career. In turn, Hap called each of his students by name. Equally important to him: Boosters; coaches; staff; officials, bus drivers, student/athletes and their parents who were his "school family."

A Battle Ground High School, Clark College and Pacific Lutheran College graduate, Hap played baseball for all three schools. He was also a catcher during his stint in the U.S. Army and on a Legion Ball team.

In his final year at PLC (now Pacific Lutheran University), Hap met Marlene. The couple married in 1959, and then started their teaching careers and family in Vancouver, WA.

Hap went on to coach hundreds of Covington and Cascade junior high boys. Later, as Evergreen School District's athletic director, he helped open Mountain View High School, and introduced new sports programs and girls' teams to local schools and leagues. His impact: thousands of student/athletes over four decades. Hap's proudest professional accomplishment: promoting equality in local girls' sports by what he called "creating opportunities for young women to 'sweat' in athletics, become leaders and reach their potential."

He was honored as Southwest Washington District Athletic Director of the Year and was later named to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association Athletic Directors Hall of Fame.

During retirement, Hap and Marlene devoted 1995-96 to teaching in Slovakia. In 2008, Hap spent a volunteer stint teaching American football to Finnish teens in Helsinki. Before Lewy Body disease compromised his memory, Hap shared love for his heritage with relatives and friends during Finnish social and language groups.

Hap cherished his family, and is survived by wife, Marlene; children, Suzanne Monson (Dori) of Lake Forest Park, WA, Beth of Vancouver and Rex (Cindy) of Woodland, WA; granddaughters, Kelsey, Haley and Keegan Monson, all of Seattle, WA and Emily and Grace Hapala of Woodland, WA; two brothers-in-law, and numerous cousins, nephews and nieces.

Hap's memorial service is at 1 p.m., Sat., Feb. 17, at St. John Lutheran Church, 11005 N.E. Highway 99, Vancouver.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Hap Hapala Fund for student athletics and activities through the Evergreen School District Foundation, 13215 C-8 S.E. Mill Plain Blvd., PMB 252, Vancouver, WA 98684 or Please note "Hapala Fund" on memo line or drop-down menu.
Please sign his Guest Book at

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Columbian on Feb. 11, 2018.
Memories & Condolences
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40 entries
April 19, 2018
Hap was a true leader and gentleman. Marlene, you and Hap have treated everyone I know, me, students, athletes, faculty, and church family with much respect over the years. Both of you have lent an ear and bits of wisdom and experience whenever asked. Thank you to both of you for being remarkable and caring people in the Vancouver Community. God bless you and your family, Marlene, Beth, and Rex, with His abiding presence and His favor. Thank you Father for calling Hap into your presence and rewarding him for his enduring faith in Jesus and completion of the race here on earth.
Gary Meier
April 15, 2018
Mr. Hapala was my 5th grade teacher yet he never forgot who I was.I ran into him on several occasions and every time he said my name with a wonderful smile.
March 12, 2018
Marlene & Beth -
I am thinking of you & praying for you & asking God to make His presence very real to you as you face future days without your special Hap.
Love Carole
Carole Fletcher
March 7, 2018
RIP Hap! Hap and I moved on to EHS from CJHS the same year. It was nice to see him in the halls of both schools for six years. He cared about everyone. Thanks Couch!
Jerry Donnelly
February 28, 2018
I know my parents, By and Marde Berhow, would have enjoyed reading this fine obituary about a great person. Condolences to you, Marlene.
Ruth Berhow Stone Scheer
Ruth Stone
February 21, 2018
Hap was a big part of athletic success in Evergreen Schools. He was a dear person and a great staff member and advocate for kids. Wishing his family peace and comfort in that he is now healed for eternity. Peace and patience to you as you wait to see him again.
sindy Sands
February 20, 2018
I'll always remember Mr happala singing in choir with my dad and being such a nice man and the biggest Yankees fan ever. My deepest condolences to rex and the whole family.
February 20, 2018
To Marlene and family,
My condolences on the passing of Hap. He was my first vice principal when I started teaching at Cascade, oh so long ago, in 1972. There was no question about his depth of caring and passion for working with kids - and he spread that message about always doing what you could for every kid! He left a lifelong impression with me for my career and beyond. He is missed.
Paula (Fruci) Heck
February 17, 2018
Mr. Hapala is what I called him and I couldn't imagine calling him anything else. He was a man of tremendous character and stability. I saw that clearly as a senior at EHS in 1980.
Greg Carlson
February 17, 2018
Most wonderful service for a most wonderful man. Blessings to the family. The baby added to the service. Thank you.
Kathy Rowe
February 17, 2018
"hap" & i were very close friends who grew up together,went to bghs & clark college & played baseball there.he was truly a good friend & associate.
oren holmes
February 17, 2018
Such a wonderful person. He enriched so many lives. I feel blessed for having known him.
JoAnne Baker
February 16, 2018
Our deepest Condolences to the family.
Harry "Pat" & Barbara Getchell
February 16, 2018
Our deepest condolences to the Hapala family. The Ivarie families have lost the matriarch to our family. Hap was always involved when needed and we will miss him greatly. He was a great American, highly respected and appreciated.
Dick and Pat Ivarie
February 16, 2018
Hap is one of the most outstanding men I have ever met. When Hap spoke it was done. I remember watching a Columbia River football game when the students stood for the whole game & we couldn't see. He just said, "You all need to sit down!" And they sat down for the whole game. He was a very good caring Christian man
Delores Anderson (Vancouver Wa)
Delores Anderson
February 16, 2018
Coach was a wonderful role model for me at Covington and EHS.
I met him at a class function years later and he still remembered my name and a couple things about me !!...and I was not a good football player. He told me he was glad I wasn't in jail! I was then a retired Military Police officer and middle school teacher. Rest In Peace, Sir.
Doug Crawford
February 15, 2018
Hap was one of a handful of teachers who had a true impact on my life young life. From when I showed up as a seventh for Second Period PE at Covington Junior High in 1966 until I left in 1969 as a Freshman, Coach Hapala played an important role in transforming a boy into a young man.

What young man could forget the stocky, tanned guy with a flat top wearing all whites staring out at 90 seventh grades bellowing out, men. I am Coach Hapala and this is Coach Cadd. First time anyone referred to me as. A man. Then we started with the Daily Dozen calisthenics we would do almost every school day for the next three years. Hap was one hell of a coach and even better man.
Greg Hendricks
February 14, 2018
Our deepest condolences. May God bless you and comfort your family.
Ghebranious Family
February 14, 2018
I am very grateful to have grown up in an era that I had Mr Hapala as a teacher.He set such a good example integrity.Even though I was totally afraid of him I totally respected him and his values. God Bless your family
mary chaney
February 14, 2018
Our deepest sympathies from the Eagle family. Hap hired me for my first job---a wonderful mentor whose advice I still use today. His influence lives on---

Jon Eagle and family
February 13, 2018
I am sad to hear of Mr. Hapala passing. I new him from my years at the old Cascade junior high and Evergreen high school (81). I was introduced to his famed paddle once or twice. He was a good man and I have found memories of that time period. Rest in peace coach.
Bryon Schriner
February 13, 2018
I am saddened by the passing of such a fine and great man. His mentorship was so valuable to me as an friend, educator, coach, and eventually as athletic director.
Hap loved kids and he showed that with grit and determination throughout his career. My condolences to his family at such a profound loss.
Dennis Gillingham
February 13, 2018
I have such wonderful memories of growing up together with the Hapala family. Hap was a wonderful family man who shared his love of Christ in how he lived his life in his church, in his home and with his school family. His light will be missed but lives on through all those that lives that he influenced through the years.
Debra (Brookshire) Boler
February 12, 2018
One of the great ones! An amazing mentor!
Ty Morris
February 12, 2018
Coach (Hap)ala was a true caring person first and coach second. His investment in all the young lives throughout the years will keep his legacy going. Our time together goes back to our time at Covington. Fond memories of this GREAT man. THANKS to his family for allowing him the time he devoted to all his students.
Gary Morrison
February 12, 2018
Marlene,Beth,Suzanne and Rex you were blessed to have such a great husband and father.I cherish all those years we worked together at Covington.The kids always came first with Hap.
Ken Moore
February 12, 2018
Dear Marlene,
My thoughts are with you and your family.
Carin Schienberg
February 12, 2018
I was deeply saddened to hear of Hap's passing last week. Hap was a great man and so supportive me and of athletics in the Evergreen School District. He hired me in 1983 to coach at Mtn. View High School. He was a wonderful mentor to me and I've always appreciated his belief in me. Hap wasn't one to mince words and he would let you know what was on his mind. I respected that. I am so grateful for his friendship over the years. Thank you for everything that you have done for athletics, students and our community. Your legacy is thriving in the Evergreen Public Schools. My deepest sympathies to Marlene and his family.
Leta Meyer
February 12, 2018
Sorry for the passing of Hap such a great man. Prayers go out to you Marlene, Beth and family.
Arlene Hyke
February 12, 2018
On behalf of the WIAA member schools, our condolences to the Hapala family. While I did not meet him, I hear many great stories about his caring for kids and never ending work on their behalf. Thanks for sharing him with the WIAA for all of those years.

Mike Colbrese
February 12, 2018
So happy .
Arlene Hyke
February 12, 2018
Had so much fun will never forget that day..
Arlene Hyke
February 12, 2018
Haps' sphere of influence will continue through the next generations. As a dad of three daughters I have a warm place in my heart for the pioneers who promoted girls sports.As the Executive Director of the State Athletic Directors Association I say "Job Well Done" Hap. You have impacted young peoples lives through education based athletics. Your legacy continues with the goals of our association.
Dave Tikker
February 12, 2018
I have fond memories of our times at BGHS and our friendship. I have spent my adult life in North Carolina, but I was able to return for two of our class reunions and enjoyed seeing my old friend again.
Hazel Mitchell Erwin
February 11, 2018
Great memories of the man who hired me to EHS and mentored me through a few scrapes. I knew I was in trouble when his glasses where slammed to the desk. Hap was a joy to work under and with, planning the Gearhart coaches retreats, Mountain View's gym and sports complex and helping mentor me when I became athletic coordinator at EHS. My sympathy to you Marlene, Rex, Beth and Suzanne for the loss of a great husband, father and man. Thanks Hap for all you did for me and all sports in the Evergreen District and statewide.
Pat King
February 11, 2018
A lot of us from the EHS classes of 1980 and 1981 were sharing happy memories of Hap, including those who were "visiting" his office for "disciplinary" reasons! A prince among men and he is well-remembered!
Kevin Stolz
February 11, 2018
Such a great man. I Went to Covington jr high and graduated from Evergreen in 1977. RIP Hap
Karen Bentley Ingram
February 11, 2018
Hap and I shared many Finnish memories over the years. He was a wonderful person, thoughtful of others needs, a tremendous educator, coach and friend. God Bless you "Hap" and your family.
Chuck Niemi
February 11, 2018
I have many happy memories of the years when I officiated at ball games at Evergreen. Hap always made sure we were treated well. I always looked forward to the Evergreen games. I enjoyed the pig roasts at his house. My sympathy to all of the family. I'm so sorry that I won't be able to attend the service. RIP Hap.
Frank Speyer
February 10, 2018
A heartfelt thank you to Marlene and kids for allowing Hap to devote so much of his life to the students and athletes in the Evergreen District. I was a recipient of his love of llfe, and will always be indebted.
Steve Kadow
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