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David J. Vargas

October 2, 1938 - July 21, 2017


David Jorge Vargas was born in Detroit, Michigan and joined his parents Pearl and Jorge Vargas, wife Patricia and son Carl in death on July 21, 2017 after living over four years with metastatic prostate cancer. He is survived by his children Michael; Daniel (wife Carol); Elizabeth "Beth" (husband Dean) and granddaughters Stephanie, Sara, and Anna.

Dave graduated from Denby High School in Detroit in 1955 as valedictorian. He studied Civil Engineering at the University of Michigan, belonged to Tau Kappa Epsilon fraternity and attended the Newman Center where he met Patricia. They were married at St. Matthew's Church in Detroit in 1958 and moved to Seattle where he earned a Master's Degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Washington.

For many years, Dave worked as an engineer and manager for cities including Pocatello, ID; Yakima, Washington; Salem, Gresham, and Portland, Oregon. After leaving the City of Portland, Dave changed careers and taught civil engineering at Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT).

Dave had a broad range of interests and achievements. He was the last surviving founding member of the Oregon Chapter of the American Public Works Association; coached the concrete canoe team for OIT; oversaw the installation of rubber railroad crossings in Yakima and was instrumental in the upgrading of refuse disposal and development of sanitary landfill construction in Oregon.

In addition to his professional accomplishments; Dave instilled in his four children a love of learning; an appreciation for political discourse; an abiding fondness for music and enjoyment of the outdoors. Together Dave and Pat and kids handcrafted a sixteen feet square primitive "tiny house" outside of Sisters, Oregon. Dave designed the small cabin that was entirely off of the grid and was the scene of meals cooked over a wood burning stove and games of Scrabble lit by oil lanterns and candles.

The family thanks the members of the Prostate Cancer Support Group and the caring staff of Salem Hospital, Salem Transitional Care Center, Willamette Valley Hospice and Tokarski Home. Contributions can be made to either the Oregon Chapter of the American Public Works Association's Oregon Institute of Technology Civil Engineering Scholarship fund or to Blanchet High School.

Arrangements are being handled by Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service and they can be contacted (503-364-2257) for the time and location of the funeral. Interment will be private.

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My condolences to the Family. I was a student of Mr. Varges in 1997.  I have fond memories of the lessons he taught. He always had a smile and a joy for educating the next generation of engineers. He will be missed.

Kerry Werner, PE

(the photo is BS-Civil Engineering graduating class of 1997.



Maybe Dad Vargas go in peace, he is always a special guidance, mentor, teacher and great dad to all his children. He had a very kind soul, patient, and loved by everyone he knew. You will be missed Dad.



I offer my condolences to Dave's family. I worked with Dave at Portland and on projects for APWA; Dave was always the smart and thoughtful guy. He will be missed by many of us. 



Beth and family,

We are so sorry for your loss and are praying for all of you. May your wonderful Dad Rest In Peace. God Bless You.

Your friends,

The Anglemiers



I was a student of Mr. Vargas at OIT from 1993 to 1995. Mr. Vargas cared about his students and their education.  I remember one time I was struggling with a lesson so, I talked with him after class them found myself in his office giving me a private lesson on the topic.  It wasn’t even open office time. In fact, it was lunch time.  He and I sat there eating our lunch while making sure I understood the lesson.  I never forgot that act of kindness towards me.  

Mark Lago
Director of Public Works
City of Hood River