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Obituary - Dean Vaupel


September 3, 2019

Dean Vaupel

Long-time Portland-area resident Dean Vaupel died unexpectedly as a result of natural causes in the early morning of August 21, 2019, at Providence Medical Center in Portland, OR. He was 77 years old.

Dean was born in Havre, MT - the North Star of the Hi-Line - on January 6, 1942. He attended Havre Public Schools through his sophomore year of high school, after which his family relocated to Great Falls, MT, where Dean graduated from Great Falls High School in 1960. The following autumn, he enrolled at the University of Montana in Missoula, MT, and matriculated there until December 1963. In January of 1964, Dean enlisted in the U.S. Army, where he served his country until 1967, including a 13-month assignment in South Korea.

Following his honorable discharge from the military, he resided briefly in Monterey, CA, where, as an avid and accomplished bowler, he participated in the BPAA tournament tour, notching numerous 300 games. Then, he returned to the University of Montana, where he pursued his studies in foreign languages.

In 1968, Dean met and married the former Cathleen Toepke. To that union, which concluded in 1984, were born Dean's two children: son, Jason Dean, currently of Portland, OR; and daughter, Bryn Cathleen, presently of Washington, D.C.

Dean was awarded his Bachelor of Arts degree in Spanish in 1969, and followed that with his Master of Arts degree in Spanish and literature in 1971, both from the University of Montana. Following the completion of his studies, Dean was employed as an assistant professor of Spanish at the College of Great Falls in Great Falls, MT.

In 1975, Dean and his family relocated to Havre, MT, to pursue a business opportunity: he opened a bookstore, Bear Paw Books, which he operated until 1984. At that time, Dean moved to Meeteetsee, WY, and embarked on a 2-plus year career of teaching Spanish and language arts to elementary, junior high and high school students in north-central Wyoming. Dean formally retired from teaching in 2006, but continued to be active in the mentoring and coaching of young people until the end of his life. In 2008, Dean relocated to the Portland, OR, area, where he lived comfortably among friends and acquaintances who shared his political leanings.

With Dean's passing, the Chicago Cubs professional baseball team lost an ardent, vocal, and passionate fan. Dean's fandom extended to his trademark sartorial choices: he was seldom seen wearing clothing without the Cubs emblem emblazoned upon it. His son, daughter and their respective families reveled with him in his greatest triumph and realization of his most-deeply held dream when his beloved Cubs finally won the World Series in 2016, ending a 108-year championship drought.

Additionally, Dean was a doting and devoted grandfather, sharing his love of flowers, music, foreign languages and learning with his two granddaughters, Grace and P.J. He took great pride in driving them to school every day, regaling them with stories and tall tales on the way.

As a life-long resident of the Mountain West, Dean was a strong advocate for and an enthusiastic visitor of national parks and other protected wild lands. He was a firm believer in walking-as-exercise, an activity he undertook throughout his life, often accompanied by his four-legged friends.

He is preceded in death by his parents, Donald and Ramona (Rognas) Vaupel.

He is survived by his sister, Melodee; his father's widow Gabriele; his son, Jason (Mary Jane); and his daughter, Bryn (Chris) Conway; as well as two nieces, Joely and Misty, and two granddaughters.

At his direction, Dean has been cremated. His family will host a celebration of his life Friday, September 13, 2019, in the Club Room at the Hotel Monaco in Portland, OR, from 5-7 p.m.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorials be made to the National Parks Foundation or The University of Montana Foundation. In the case of the latter, gifts can be made payable to The University of Montana Foundation and noted for a gift in memory of Dean Vaupel for the College of Humanities and Sciences. Checks should be mailed to The UM Foundation, Post Office Box 7159, Missoula, MT 59807-7159 or friends may give online – http://www.SupportUM.org - and designate that the gift is in memory of Dean Vaupel.


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