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Harold E. Tarpenning
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Obituary for Harold E. Tarpenning

Harold Emerson Tarpenning passed away March 14th, 2018 with his two daughters at his sides holding his hands. Harold grew up in Spanaway and lived on Spanaway Lake spending time with his friends including Hank Patjens and cousin Dave Smith. Growing up Harold had a passion for cars and rebuilt several classics through the years, he was also a member of the Thunderbird Club owning several classic Thunderbirds. Harold joined the Army in 1958 and became stationed at Camp Darby in Livorno Italy assigned to the Signal Corp working as a radio operator. While in Italy he met and married his wife Bruna and had a daughter Monica. Upon returning home to the US Harold was assigned to the Army Reserve at Fort Lawton, Washington. He then began an extensive career at Boeing as a model maker at the Boeing wind tunnel in Seattle. He retired in 1995 and had many accomplishments during his 40-year career. He helped build the Lunar Rover which was used on the moon in the last 3 missions of the American Apollo program during 1971 and 1972. In 1973 Harold met and shook Neil Armstrong's hand while on special assignment for a year at NASA in Langley, Virginia. In 1991 Harold was sent to Farnborough, England with his colleagues at Boeing for another special assignment in the aerospace industry. After retirement from Boeing Harold worked at the Tacoma News Tribune and enjoyed many friendships there including friend Steve Landry. Harold was a wonderful husband and father who was known only as "Babbo" (daddy in Italian) to his two daughters Monica and Leslie whom he loved very much. He was incredibly clever and was a real life MacGyver who could do and fix anything. For example, he once used clothes pins to hold the heat exchanger vent flaps open underneath the Volkswagen Beetle he drove his wife Bruna and baby Monica back from New York in because the car had been damaged when it was pulled off the ship from Italy. Both Harold and his wife Bruna were very generous and donated money on a regular basis to the sheriff's, the firefighters, and because of their love for animals they continually donated to the Humane Society of America and ASPCA for prevention of cruelty to animals which I, their daughter Monica, am continuing to do both in their name. Harold maintained his intelligence and dry humor until the very end of his life. He is preceded in death by his wife Bruna, parents Emerson and Olive Tarpenning, sister Lois Rohde, cousin Dave Smith, and his uncle George Peterson. He is survived by his two daughters Monica Tarpenning Boesen and Leslie Pellegrini, niece Anne Rohde, nephew Jack E. Rohde, and his aunt Dorothy Peterson.

As their daughter Monica I consider myself blessed to have had such wonderful parents as Harold and Bruna Tarpenning. It was both an honor and a privilege for me to serve and care for them during the golden years of their lives.

I love you both always and forever,
In loving memory,
Your daughter,

Previous Events





2:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Fir Lane Memorial Park & Funeral Home

924 E. 176th. St.
Spanaway, WA 98387

Funeral Service




1:00 PM
Fir Lane Memorial Park & Funeral Home

924 E. 176th. St.
Spanaway, WA 98387

Graveside Service to follow


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