John Halberg, 80, founder of the Olympic Peninsula Rowing Association and a Clallam County Community Service Award recipient. (Keith Thorpe/Peninsula Daily News)

Services Monday for founder of rowing association

PORT ANGELES — John Halberg, community icon and founder of the Olympic Peninsula Rowing Association, will be remembered in a pair of memorial services Monday.

A Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Monday at Queen of Angels Catholic Church, 209 W. 11th St., Port Angeles.

A celebration of Halberg’s life will be held in the church gymnasium at about noon.

“We are hoping for a big crowd,” said Kristin Halberg, John’s daughter.

“People don’t have to come to both if they don’t want to, but we really are hoping that we can get community members to come and share their stories of Dad in the gym.”

Halberg died of an apparent heart attack while working out on his rowing machine Jan. 6, said his wife, Betty Halberg.

He was 80.

Halberg received a Clallam County Community Service Award in 2012 for being the “enthusiastic co-founder and inventive leader” of the Port Angeles-based rowing association.

Halberg grew up in the Port Angeles area and spent his summers at Lake Crescent. He rowed collegiately for the venerable University of Washington crew team and went on to coach crew at the University of California, Berkeley.

Halberg returned to the Port Angeles area in 1972. He served for 20 years on the Crescent School Board, coached youth sports and volunteered at Queen of Angels.

Halberg co-founded the Olympic Peninsula Rowing Association 10 years ago.

He was remembered by family and friends for his passion for helping others reach their potential, his optimistic vision for the community and his kind and caring nature.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Halberg’s name to the Olympic Peninsula Rowing Association,

A GoFundMe page, which is linked to the OPRA website, is available for donations to OPRA at

“Through his guidance, support and encouragement, rowing on the Olympic Peninsula has flourished,” according to a post on the association website.

“OPRA has grown to welcome both youth and adult rowers of all ages and abilities. At the time of his death, John was working to raise funds for youth scholarships and to purchase equipment to meet the needs of the growing youth program.

“Please consider supporting John’s dream by making a donation to help provide scholarships and equipment needs for this positive program in our community.”


Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56450, or at [email protected].

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