Alpine Construction Owners Don and Darius Rappe
Don Rappe arrived in Spokane at the age of 2 in 1936. Having travelled from South Dakota in the families Model-A Ford with 6 children and the family dog, Don’s mom exclaimed to her husband, “Charlie, you can go on to California if you want, but the kids and I are staying here!!” And so they did.
As a youth, Don worked at Weilers Greenhouse, The Flower Pot, and of course picked strawberries, beans, watermelon and other produce grown on the many Valley farms. Don attended Orchard Center, Orchard Avenue and Millwood grade schools. In1948 the Rappe family helped build Zion Lutheran Church joining the group of founding charter members.
He graduated in 1952 from West Valley HS with football scholarships tucked under his arm. He made All Conference & Honorable Mention and All-State Guard. He received football scholarships for Washington State College (WSU), Idaho, Eastern Washington State College (EWU) and Whitworth. He decided to accept the proposed plan offered by Idaho, however the scholarship was not as promised so his football career was interrupted. In December of 1952 he enlisted in the US Marine Corps. As Sergeant he managed the First Phase Clothing Bldg for 2 years. He declined the offer of OSC (officer training) and received an honorable discharge early December 1954. Upon returning home he worked as a concrete vibrator operator on the construction of Box Canyon Dam in Ione Washington and later helped run his dad’s lawn leveling business.
In September 1955 Don enrolled in Eastern Washington State College (now EWU) with the GI Bill. While attending college he worked at the Crescent in men’s clothing, shoveled wheat into box cars for Centennial Mills and bartended at Manfred’s Tavern. He graduated June 1959 with a teaching degree and completed his practice teaching at West Valley High School. One year before EWSC (EWU) graduation he accepted a position with Central Life Assurance as an insurance salesperson. He remained with that company for 22 years to the day. He didn’t want to leave Central Life, but internal agency changes made it inevitable. He then brokered with other insurance companies.
On December 29, 1961 he married Jacquelyn Nordby . In the spring of 1963 they purchased their first home in North Spokane. All three children, Denise, Darius and Juli were born while in that home. In 1972 they built their home on Browne’s Mountain. Don’s niece, Melinda became their fourth child at age nine due to the loss of both parents. So the family of six plus cats, dogs, birds, fish and a horse did everything that all families did; camped, fished, traveled to Minnesota grandparents, and other fun places, gardened, worked, and were active participants in their church.
In 1980, Don became a financial backer for a friend starting a construction business, then began his own construction business, Alpine Energy. He had 20 employees, a 7,000 sq ft warehouse, multiple trucks and vehicles and was a primary contractor for the WWP Energy Savings incentive program. Sadly, the partnership soured and Alpine Energy closed its’ doors and Don lost everything. Within a month at age 52, Don exclaimed loudly, “Watch me! I will start a new business!” And so he did!!
Alpine Construction opened its’ doors on April 1986 with a new partner, Darius, Don’s son. Darius had just graduated from WSU and had worked for his Dad, during the summers while in high school and college. The newly formed father-son partnership grew for 30 years to what it is today.
At age 77, Don still has the vision and commitment to manage a business, but with thankfulness is passing the torch forward to his son, Darius. Don expresses gratitude for the blessings within his life. Family is foremost – wife, four children, thirteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. His church and community are a close second and of course serving customers in need of any kind of home repair is right up there on top.
“Quality Workmanship and Competitive Prices”
Born in Spokane, Darius grew up primarily on the South Hill where his father, Don built the family home in 1972. Darius led an active life full of sports and working with his father throughout high school where he graduated from Ferris in 1983. Graduating from Spokane Falls Community College in 1985, he then went on to graduate from Washington State University where he was active with the Kappa Sigma Fraternity.
For most of the late 1980’s and through the 1990’s Darius was active in high level modified fastpitch softball, playing in the National Tournament 10 out of 14 years – culminating with a National Championship and an MVP award in 1994. Throughout college he continued to work for his father Don’s construction company and in 1986 Don formed Alpine Construction where Darius became a partner after graduating from WSU in 1988. Having held every position in the company from roofer to sales, Darius is proud how far he and his father have come in the past 24 years. Married with children now, when not working Darius is spending time with his family, hunting, playing softball, cheering on the Cougs, snowboarding and playing raquetball. He and is family are also very much involved with church, attending Zion Lutheran Church in the Spokane Valley.