Richard Andrew Haapala

Richard Andrew Haapala, age 85, of Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan passed away early Wednesday morning, March 4, 2020, at War Memorial Hospital’s Long Term Care Unit.

Richard was born on December 12, 1934, in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan the son of the late Herman and Ann (Mattson) Haapala.  He graduated from Sault High School.  Richard started his working life at a very early age for his father Herman, at the Coca-Cola Bottling Company/Soo Bottling. He remained working there into his late 20’s and during that time he also served in the National Guard.  After the sale of the bottling company, he was a truck driver for C.G. Sanderson hauling sand & gravel.  It was then he found his calling and purchased Soo Oil Company, a fuel oil delivery and full-service gas station. He spent over 20 years proudly wearing a Texaco uniform. Shortly thereafter, he moved to Tucson AZ where he had a few jobs and was able to live by his lifetime buddy Marsh Jacobson. In 2000 Richard moved back to Sault Ste Marie where he was fully retired, spending his days ‘ramming around’ having coffee and visiting. For the last 5 years he could be found in Long Term Care at War Memorial Hospital making rounds in his wheelchair, where he was known as ‘Happy’. He brought joy to all that met him. Richard’s favorite time was spent sharing stories of the history of the Sault, and he rarely forgot a detail. Richard truly enjoyed Wednesday evenings in the summer at Music in the Park.

Richard is survived by two daughters: Heather Haapala of Sault Ste. Marie, MI and Erika (Dan) Frechette of Naples, FL; a grandson: Ryan Andrew Morley of Sault Ste. Marie, MI; a brother: Ted (Linda) Haapala of Sault Ste. Marie, MI; a nephew: Andy (Holly) Haapala of Sault Ste. Marie, MI; and a niece: Erin (Karl) Pearson of Orlando, FL.

Richard was preceded in death by his parents and a son-in-law: Michael MacInnis.

A memorial service will be held later this spring at Faith Lutheran Church with Pastor Paul Raapana officiating.

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