September 2013

OUR CLASSMATE DAVE RAPELJE’s DEATH was recently discovered by our Class Committee members, Ron Petty and Bruce McAlexander, who learned that Dave passed away almost three years ago.

A resident of Nine Mile Falls near Spokane, Washington, Dave passed away over Thanksgiving weekend 2010. He was 62 years old at the time of death. The recent discovery of Dave’s death explains why our Class Committee could not locate him at the time of our 45-year reunion in July 2011, at which time he was on our “Missing Classmates” list. I always thought it was quite odd that Dave ended up on the “Missing Persons” list when he was no further away than Warren Knight’s Facebook page as of the time of my May 2010 memo to our Class Committee, of which Warren was a part.

A popular and well-liked member of our Class of 1966, Dave always was jovial and enjoyed being the jokester. Even when there was a lull and there was nothing to talk about, Dave always managed to find something humorous to say. In our class poll, we selected Dave and Twila as “Class Clowns” because of their delightful sense of humor. Dave also was elected to the “Class Representative” position among our class officers, which included Twila as our Class President, Meg as our Vice President and Patti Kueck as our Secretary/Treasurer. In addition to Dave, other classmates who won the “Class Representative” election were Stella Romero, Suzie Gates, Mary Ashley and Daryl Kuiper. Class officers were a separate entity from the Student Council to which Ron, Bruce, Starr, Warren, Eldon and I were elected.

At WHS Dave went steady with our classmate, Roxann Mann, who had been my steady girlfriend in junior high school before she went steady with Harry Eberhardt (Class of 1965). In addition to remembering Dave, I also remember Dave’s younger brother, Don Rapelje (Class of 1967). [Speaking of Roxann, she has been on our “Missing Classmates” list for several years. If any of you know her whereabouts, let us know.]

Shortly after Dave's death in 2010, his adoptive father Duane Rapelje shared the following fond memory of Dave, Dave’s wife Lyla and Dave’s mother Edna:

“I guess the latest memory was when we took a trip to South Dakota. We got in a small snow storm and David was driving our new car. He was so nervous about wrecking in the snow. We were in a store that dressed you up in very old costumes. While David and I and Lyla and Mom were upstairs in the store, I let an awful fart and everyone started to laugh. Lyla was going downstairs when she slipped and broke her arm, so we rushed her to the hospital. Later on we were coming out of a building when Lyla slipped and just about fell again. David said, “This was a trip from hell,” but it was fun and we talked about it while David was in the hospital before he died.”


Respectfully submitted,

 Donnie Martinez, WHS Class of 1966 Committee

Known at WHS by stepfather’s surname Collier

Martinez is my birth certificate and legal surname