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Evan Chappuis: A Part of Susanville History

Evan Chappuis at the 2011 Lassen High Alumni Picnic

This week marks the passing of one of Susanville’s oldest and most treasured residents, Evan Chappuis, a part of this community for 101-years.

Raised on the family ranch near Standish, Chappuis was born on July 3rd, 1910 and graduated from Lassen High School in the class of 1927.

He married his high school sweetheart Juen Bangham in 1932 and they established an accounting business here in Susanville, raising three daughters Jane, Harriet and Catherine.

Chappuis was an avid aviation enthusiast, receiving his pilot’s license in 1946, and a member of the Experimental Aircraft Association, The Airplane Owners and Pilots Association, and the United Flying Octogenarians.

A young Evan Chappuis on the ranch east of Susanville.

In conjunction with his part in the family ranching business he was a member of the Lassen County Cattlemen’s Association and the Lassen County Farm Bureau. He was a member of the Lassen High School Alumni Association, the Susanville Elk’s and the Susanville Lions Club. Chappuis had served on the Lassen High School Board, as Airport Commissioner and on the Susanville City Council where he was instrumental in the development of Emerson Lake Golf Course.   

In June of 2010 Chappuis wrote this address to the graduating class of Lassen High School.

My name is Evan Chappuis and I am 99 years young. Although nearly a century separates us in age, we have one thing in common. We are all graduates of Lassen High School.

One of the most important lessons instilled in me by my family was the importance of a good education. I started my education at Bridgeport school (near Standish) at the age of 6. The only transportation to school was by horseback, bicycle or on foot.

This was a rural one-room school. We had one teacher who taught grades first through eighth. This experience was a window to the world for me and prepared me for high school.

However in order to enter high school it was necessary to pass the County Board examination. If one did not pass this exam, one had to repeat another year in the eighth grade. Fortunately, for me I placed second among the students who took the County Board exam. The credit for my success belongs to Kate Fulton a very strict teacher. She made sure I was well prepared to tackle math, physiology, reading, language, history and drama, subjects all included in the oral exam.

With the support of my family, in 1924 I enrolled at Lassen High School. My family lived on a ranch, some twelve miles east of Susanville. As there was no school bus service, my grandmother moved to town and made a home for me so I could go to high school.

In 1927, I graduated along with thirty-three classmates. One of my teachers, Robert Fulton encouraged me to enroll in Armstrong’s Business College in Berkeley. Upon graduation in accounting, I was hired within a week by Belshaw Warehouse Company of San Francisco. This was during the depression when jobs were scarce and I was more than happy to be employed. Without my college education my story would have been different.

Today’s world holds challenges and technologies never dreamed of during my academic years. Therefore, it is my hope that you will accept the responsibility and challenges of a higher education. Take advantage of all the opportunities available to you so that your own hopes and dreams may be realized during these amazing times.

Evan Chappuis

He is survived by his daughter Jane Hail and her husband Roger, daughter Harriet Pace and husband Fred and daughter Catherine Gile. He is also survived by 13 grandchildren and 26 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service for Evan Chappuis will be held Tuesday, November 15th, at 2:00p.m. at the Assembly of God Church on Richmond Road. A reception will follow. Anyone wishing to bring food to the church is asked to please call Traci Witry at 257-7447.

In lieu of flowers the family is asking that donations be made to the Lassen High School Alumni Association Scholarship Fund, the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation or to your favorite charity.



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