The sport fishing community is mourning the loss of Harold Van Riper long time salmon angler and former owner of Van Riper’s Resort at Sekiu in the western Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Van Riper who was born on Dec. 11, 1930, in Wilmar, Minnesota, passed away suddenly on Nov. 22 in Sequim from cardiac arrest while driving to a doctor’s appointment.
“Harold was one of the best mooching anglers around, and you’d always see him fishing off Mussolini Rock usually with a big king bending over his rod,” said Tony Floor, longtime salmon angler and director of fishing affairs for the Northwest Marine Trade Associaiton.
Van Riper attended Gonzaga University where he was a standout center for the basketball team between 1949 and 1953.
Van Riper lived outside of Spokane and moved to Neah Bay shortly after getting married in 1957, and having his first daughter Valerie. He then worked at the school helped coach sports and also fished commercially in his own custom built boat.
In 1966 he and his wife Shirley moved with their four children to Clallam Bay where he taught at the school and coached the boys basketball team, which he turned into a state powerhouse in the Class B League and appeared in four state tournaments.
Van Riper also ran a charter fishing boat at Neah Bay, and then later at Sekiu until 1977 when he retired from teaching and coaching hoops.
Van Riper eventually settled into a house at Sekiu, and in 1973 he purchased Van Riper’s Resort. In 1986 he sold the resort which is currently being operated by daughter Valerie and son-in-law Chris Mohr.
“Harold was a great man and will be missed by the entire community,” said Donnalynn Olson, owner of Olson’s Resort just down the street from the Van Riper’s Resort.
Harold is survived by his wife of 54 years, Shirley of Sequim, and brother Jim Van Riper of Spokane, and son Tim Van Riper of Sekiu, daughters Valerie Mohr (Chris) of Sekiu, Mary Hadley (Dennis) of Winslow, Monica Rencken (Larry) of Hollis, N.H., and six grandchildren and one great grandchild.
The family welcomes all to join in a celebration of life to be held at 1 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 18 at the Sequim Prairie Grange, 290 Macleay Road in Sequim. Memorial contributions can be made to the Neah Bay or Clallam Bay School athletic programs.