John Wayne Dappen


John Wayne Dappen
1920 – Oct. 1, 2008

If you're reading this, my family did not take my advice and is wasting money on me rather than giving it to someone who is alive and who could really use it. I'm a realist, however, and know I'm likely to be overruled so I've written some things down. It is, after all, MY life and, for once, I want the last word.
I was born in Kansas, raised in Iowa, graduated from Grinnell College (Iowa) in 1942, and received a Ph.D. from the Institute of Paper Chemistry (Wisconsin) in 1950. Interrupting my education was World War II and, for some of those years, I worked for the Manhattan Project (Tennessee) as a cog in the machinery that built the bombs that would end the war in the Pacific.
I leave behind my wife of 63 years, Glady; three children, Ann Manes (Bob), of Jacksonville, Oregon, Alan (Sara), of Vienna, Virginia, and Andy (Jan), of Wenatchee, Washington. My eldest son, Art (Linn), preceded me in death in 2006. Besides my children I leave behind 16 grandchildren and 13 (and counting) great-grandchildren. It's ironic that Glady and I worked for many years to raise money for Planned Parenthood.
My working years were spent with Scott Paper Company and we moved quite often. I lived and worked in Pennsylvania, New York, Mexico, and Pennsylvania (again). In 1968, I was sent to Everett where I spent the remainder of my career. Here some claim I met my Peter Principle managing the pulp mill. Others say my bluntness finally caught up with me because I was quick to call a spade a spade and a bad policy a bad policy.
After retirement my worst mistake was taking that bluntness into Glady's kitchen where a little constructive criticism landed me the job of cooking for 20 years. One way to minimize that chore was volunteering with the International Executive Service Corp—an organization that sent me on three-month stints to help improve paper or pulp operations in other countries. I worked in Brazil (twice), Egypt, Slovakia, and Zimbabwe (several times).
Throughout my life I've never been much of a joiner of organizations, churches, groups, or clubs. I'm so much of a non-joiner that I won't be attending the party that has been promised for my birthday. Those who knew me and feel inclined to eat, drink, and say a few final words – good or ill-- are invited to attend.
Also save your pennies on symbolic gestures like flowers which, to me, are wasted money. If you feel compelled to give something in my memory, donate to Planned Parenthood of Western Washington or Providence Hospice Care of Snohomish County.

Kids' Addition:

It's hard to be totally forthright when writing about yourself, so we're not going to give Dad the last word. For starters, it is true our father was quick to declare what he believed or thought best—usually in an elevated voice. Nonetheless when others disagreed or acted in a way that defied his logic, he had the humor and grace to accept people's differences without bitterness or ill will. He rarely judged and he never harbored a grudge. And while he might question a person's sanity to his face, Dad did not speak poorly of others behind their backs.
Some people knew our father to be a cheapskate and he cultivated that reputation by gleaning the food sales each week, fixing possessions with tape and glue, and wearing the same clothes year after year. He earned a good income and could have matched the self-indulging purchases of his peers. Instead, he paid for the undergraduate education of all his children at expensive liberal-arts colleges. He funded the graduate education of those of us who desired it, helped financially with the education of other children, helped support the family of his missionary son, and loaned money at below-market rates so his kids could afford homes. He gave generously to charities he believed in. Our father was stingy with himself, not with others.
Dad was also scrupulously honest, even in those situations where many of us turn to white lies for help. Ask him about religion and he'd say, "I don't know if there's a God, but I also don't know of a better code of behavior than Christ's example or the Golden Rule."
At least two of us kids remember learning about the Golden Rule in Mexico after we were hauled before our father for throwing stones at the workers building a home down the road. The Rule and its principles were patiently explained. We admitted that, had our positions been reversed, we would not have wanted stones chucked at us. And then a spanking seared that lesson to memory in a way we two still remember 50 years later.
Every father has anecdotes he's remembered by and here is one of the many that always raised a laugh in our family. After the creation of a new national holiday, Dad got in a heated 'discussion' with his kids who enjoyed these 'pseudo' holidays. "We've got too many darn holidays already," he argued. "What we need is a national get-back-to-work day."
Our father believed in hard work and he did all his jobs well, whether that was making paper for Scott, cooking for his wife, or raising his kids. We, his children, admire his many sterling qualities and we laugh together over his storied quirkiness. We will miss this sometimes odd but unusually wonderful man. And while we will miss him, we needn't go far to visit him. Whether the cause is nature or nurture, our spouses comment on our own values and quirky behavior with the quip, "You're just like your father."
A birthday party to celebrate Dad's life will be held from 2 to 5 p.m., on Saturday, October 25, 2008, at the family home. We hope to see his friends and neighbors there.


Published in The Herald (Everett) from Oct. 8 to Oct. 12, 2008