view current print edition




Walter LePage leaves legacy on Washington landscape

by Lora Abcarian | January 16, 2011
Walter LePage, one of the founders of the Washington State Potato Commission, died Jan. 12 in Pasco, WA, at the age of 97.

Mr. LePage was born Aug. 13, 1913, in Santa Ana, CA. His family sold its grocery store shortly after his birth and moved to a number of states, including Wyoming, Texas and Missouri.

Because of the frequent moves, Mr. LePage did not finish high school. When he was 23 years old, Mr. LePage was living in Brownsville, TX, where he learned about a program at Brownsville Junior College that allowed him to begin his educational studies. He eventually graduated with a bachelor of science degree from Central Missouri State Teachers College, where he majored in physics and chemistry and minored in education and math. Prior to World War II, Mr. LePage learned to fly airplanes and trained pilots at a flying school near Cuero, TX.

He and his wife, Ethelyn, moved to Yakima, WA, after the flight school closed. The couple eventually purchased some farmland in Pasco.

Mr. LePage was a civic-minded citizen who was always available to his community. He was one of the founders of Franklin Fire District 3 and worked with Franklin County Parks & Recreation from 1957 to 1967. He also served as a commissioner at the port of Pasco from 1968 to 1973. Mr. LePage was involved with the Franklin County Crop Improvement Association from 1953 to 1987.

Funeral services were scheduled to be held Jan. 17 at Einan's Funeral Home in Richland, WA.