Jan. 19, 1924 — June 13, 2020
Marie D. Evans Harpole died June 13, 2020, in Seaside, Oregon. She had fully lived each and every minute of her 96 and half year life — filling each day with an incredible love of family, a staunch Catholic faith and an unstoppable spirit.
Born in 1924 in Missoula, Montana, Mom was an only child to Cap and Fifi Evans. Cap was raised on a rustic Montana cattle ranch and was a stoic, by the rules, career U.S. Forest Service ranger with a well-hidden, but deeply caring and empathetic heart.
Fifi was a fun-loving, first generation daughter of German immigrants. The small family moved often, following Cap’s Forest Service career. Mom was 100% her father’s personality.
She grew up in the towns and woods of Montana, attending small country grade schools, and eventually graduating from the University of Montana as a microbiologist. While there, Marie was a well-respected member of the sharpshooting team — a skill she would later put to good use dispatching lawn moles with a shotgun.
She met Jordan “John” Harpole, a World War II sailor, at the University of Montana in 1948. After a four-month whirlwind romance, they married, and remained together for the next 58 years.
After their wedding, John and Marie spent their honeymoon summer in a primitive, one-room cabin, deep in the Montana wilderness, working his dad’s gold mine. During that time, she became pregnant with Vern, the first of their four children.
She went on to have three more kids during the 35 years that they lived in Bend, Oregon, taking care of her high-maintenance husband and her children with never a complaint, lots of love and energy and occasional — but not wasted — emotion. Her family had the best nurturing, compassionate, fun, but disciplined lives imaginable.
In addition to the love and energy she bestowed on her family, Marie was devoted to her friends — a voracious writer, she never forgot or missed a birthday, anniversary or special occasion. Friends and family alike were blessed with a card, a letter or note of concern.
For nearly 60 years, Marie was a devoted and active member of the women’s benevolent organization, PEO.
Although she loved many things — including all forms of chocolate, pretty much any pickle, all-beef hotdogs and frosty root beer floats — Marie kept a short list of things she absolutely detested. This list consisted of cell phones, computers, kale and exercise!
Each of her children has an anecdote on how spoiled they were.
Vern (wife Karen and son Jordan): “Mom signed me up for science, not mystery or adventure, book of the month club when I was in third grade cause I was going to be a doctor. Kids would tease me all the time about how no other mother would peel and section their oranges in their lunch.”
Ann (husband Don and son Adrian): “I grew up never knowing about laundry, or even knowing how to run the washing machine. Clothes were always clean and ironed and put away. She loved being our mom.”
Mark (wife Anne, daughter Jamie, granddaughter Linda and son Luke): “When my son Luke was killed in the car crash and Mom found out, I was told her first words were ‘Oh poor Mark.’ Profound. When we were kids, she would take us to Mount Bachelor in the camper, and sit all day while we skied, to ensure we had a hot lunch.”
Mary (husband Mike and son Sean): “As the youngest child, I’m told that I was spoiled the most … but that’s not my fault! Mom signed me up for ballet at the age of 5. Somehow she knew that I loved the arts and dance at that young age. At age 62, I am still dancing. Thanks mom! And I never knew that grapefruit didn’t come already perfectly sectioned.”
Pretty perfect life for 94 years, and no compromise for all 96 and a half. Love ya and like ya, Mom.
Her family wishes to thank the Lower Columbia Hospice caregivers for their kind, compassionate care of Marie in her final months, and also Neawanna By the Sea for their excellent care of her.
Her funeral mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. on Aug. 1 at Our Lady of Victory Church in Seaside, Oregon.
In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to the Lower Columbia Hospice or PEO Chapter FE in Astoria, Oregon.