December 19, 1963 - July 28, 2021
Matthew 6:33 “ But seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. “ These words by Jesus Christ were lived out faithfully by our friend Doug Hepler. Douglas Dwayne Hepler was born on December 19, 1963, in Oregon City to Clarence and Charlotte Hepler. Doug had 2 sisters - Debbie Arndt and Danette Hepler. The Hepler's early years were spent in the Holcomb area before moving to the Oak Grove Community when Doug was 3 years old. Doug lived there with his family until his early adult years when he moved in with friends Bob Pulford, Ron Forehand, and Dan Knoepfle. Growing up, Doug enjoyed exploring the outdoors and playing different sports like softball and flag football in the churchyard. In school, he joined the choir, performed in dramatic performances, and played the tuba in the band. Doug’s years in school began at Riverside Elementary. He attended Rowe Middle School and eventually Rex Putnam High School. Clarence and Charolette’s nurturing and loving character made an impression on Doug which would help him to be a loving son and brother to Debbie and Danette. The Hepler's enjoyed spending time on family vacations. They also attended church as Clarence and Charlotte wanted their family to grow in their knowledge and faith by attending Worship, Sunday School, and various Church Activities throughout the children’s formative years. When the Hepler's lived in Oregon City, they were befriended and ministered to by Ed and Rosalee Albee. Doug’s sister Debbie was invited to attend Bible School in the old Oregon City Evangelical Church Annex by Rosalee. Ed invited Clarence and the family to attend worship and Sunday School at OCEC. During this time of Doug’s young life, he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior as a child in Sunday School. Later as an adult, Doug never forgot the importance of that decision so he served for many years as a 5th grade Boy’s Sunday school Teacher with Richard Myhre. Doug would also support the Jr. High Ministry by traveling to Warm Springs for Spring Break Service Trips. A significant time in Doug’s relationship with Jesus was in the OCEC High School Group led by Marc Trueb. Through Marc’s ministry and the grace of God, Doug became more dedicated as a follower of Jesus. Doug was never shy to lend his talent to enliven those around him. Being naturally entertaining, Doug had many parts in the humorous activities and skits that Marc inspired within the High School Fellowship. During that time, Marc had a huge part in discipling Doug to be rooted and established in the love, grace, and knowledge of Jesus Christ. After Doug graduated the High School, Marc asked Doug to join his High School leadership team. It was then that he met Vicki Brakefield, daughter of Larry and Joan Brakefield and sister of Cheri McKeag. Throughout their acquaintance during Youth Group Meetings, Doug grew fond of Vicki. But he waited until Vicki graduated from high school before feeling the time was right to ask her out for a date. While talking to his mother Charlotte during one of their many mother and son heartfelt conversations, Doug expressed his aspirations and reservations about inviting Vicki to see the Nutcracker Ballet. Charlotte said to Doug - either ask Vicki or he was going to have to take her- his mother to the performance. Soon after Charlotte’s ultimatum, Doug invited Vicki on that date and their relationship began. This relationship would grow and blossom into a courtship. When Doug felt the time had come to propose, he invited Vicki and both sets of parents to celebrate Valentine’s Day dinner at the Fernwood Inn. Unbeknownst to all of them, he was about to reveal his heart’s desire to spend the rest of his life with his sweetheart. Being a true romantic, Doug played piano before everyone in the dining room and sang a love song he had written to propose to Vicki. You can only imagine the beautiful atmosphere on that Valentine’s Evening. On July 25th, 1987, Doug and Vicki were married at OCEC. Their loving and faithful marriage of 34 years was recently celebrated during Doug’s last hospital stay. Even as sick as Doug was, he remained a thoughtful husband by asking his son Steven to buy Vicki a bouquet of flowers for their anniversary. He adored Vicki as his sweetheart and best friend. Even at the very end of Doug’s life, being together with Vicki brought him such comfort. She was his rock on which he depended. After graduating from Rex Putnam High School in 1982, Doug attended Clackamas Community College for a few years. His early work experiences included Plush Pippen, MetroWest Ambulance with Bob Pulford, and the Sanitation Department before starting to work at Chrysler. His career at Chrysler lasted 33 years. Music played a large part of Doug’s life growing up. Besides playing piano and guitar, Doug was an accomplished vocalist which he enjoyed sharing throughout his life. He offered his musical talent in worship teams, different ensembles, choir, and theatrical performances. Doug would also love to use his musical gifts to minister to senior citizens at Homewoods and other senior citizen homes. Doug and Vicki would eventually pass their love of music to their sons - Steven and Shawn. It was in 1991, that Doug and Vicki welcomed Steven into the family. Doug was a loving dad who often played guitar and sang during Steven’s early years. This time had a special impact on Steven to create a bond of music between the two of them- particularly playing guitar, that they would share up until Doug’s passing. When Steven was young, Doug would take him boating on their fishing boat. Eventually, Doug decided to buy a Water Ski Boat so that Steven and Shawn could learn to water ski. This decision would bless the entire family, so they would enjoy being on the water together. Shawn, Doug and Vicki’s second son, was born in 1994. Like Steven, Doug also shared a bond of music and a love of boating and kayaking. Doug coached Shawn in different sports when Shawn was young. Shawn excelled in football and baseball, and Doug was very proud of his son. Being a volunteer on the OC Chain Gang gave Doug a thrill to watch Shawn on the football field. He was especially proud of Shawn being a great inspirational team-mate during his senior year when OC won the Oregon State 6A Baseball Championship. Doug loved his boys so much. This special bond of father and sons was permanently inked on their upper arms, as a symbol of sharing a belief in Jesus Christ. Doug and his sons received a tattoo of 3 Tall Fir Trees signifying Ephesians 3:14-19: “For this reason, I kneel before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” During the last few years together, Doug and his boys shared a love for motorcycles. Inspired by Doug’s 3 states, 1,000 miles, camping trip on motorcycles with Vicki’s Uncle Ron in 2020, the guys made plans to take motorcycle trips together in the future. Doug had begun to buy and gather his new gear with the hopes to ride after his back recovered from his surgery. As a tribute to Doug, family, and friends are gathering to ride together as a procession out to the celebration of life at Peacock Ridge Farms in Estacada following the memorial at Oregon City Evangelical Church. Besides music, boating, kayaking, and motorcycle riding, Doug enjoyed woodworking which he learned from his father Clarence. Doug had a shop of Clarence’s wood machines and choice pieces of wood that his father had collected. This inspired Doug to craft wood projects like his beloved dad. Another hobby and possible career opportunity involved voice training in which he was naturally gifted. Doug used his vocal talent as the announcer at Oregon City High School Football and Basketball games. Maintaining family relationships was one of Doug’s priorities. This was very evident with Joan and Larry Brakefield. The blessing of this close relationship inspired the Brakefield's and Hepler's to buy and share a house in the final years of Doug’s life. This house was dedicated to the Lord to bless those friends and family with love who gathered there. Both families also enjoyed many trips to Spokane and Mexico where much fun and fellowship would be enjoyed. After retiring from Chrysler, Doug worked at Gaffney and Eastham schools in the “After the bell school” program. “Mr. Doug”, as he would be known, gave loving guidance and instruction to children. In addition to working, Doug continued his education by graduating from the Pacific Evangelical School of Ministry. Doug desired to minister for Jesus and by receiving his Masters of Divinity Degree through PESM, he was better equipped to do so. Doug truly considered this a huge accomplishment in his life. As a gift from the family, Steven and Shawn had Doug’s first guitar refinished to give him when he graduated from Pacific Evangelical School of Seminary. In closing, Doug will be greatly missed by so many. His quick wit and sense of humor brought laughter and joy to those around him. But most importantly, Doug truly lived out Matthew 6:33, by seeking God’s Kingdom first. The impact of Doug’s love, service, and blessings on all the people he knew is now evident through everyone’s outpouring of love. Donations can be made to the Doug Hepler After The Bell Memorial Fund through OnPoint Community Credit Union or via Venmo to @doug-hepler-memorial. Feel free to reach out to the family for more info.
Matthew 6:33 “ But seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. “ These words by Jesus Christ were lived out faithfully by our friend Doug Hepler. Douglas Dwayne Hepler was born... View Obituary & Service Information
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