The longtime advertising director of the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business and Senior Times died Oct. 26 from advanced cancer.
Mike D. Haugen of Richland died at The Chaplaincy Hospice House in Kennewick after complications related to his cancer treatments. He was 66.
He joined the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business and Senior Times in 2005 and would have celebrated his 14th year with the Kennewick media company in January 2019. During his tenure, he was the top salesperson each year.
“Without his hard work and dedication to our customers and his belief in our products, the Tri-Cities Area Journal of Business wouldn’t be what it is today. Because of him our community is a better place,” said Publisher Melanie Hair.
Though he earned an associate degree in journalism from Walla Walla Community College, he liked to quip that more money was to be made on the advertising side of the business and spent 36 years in sales.
As a young man, he and a buddy co-authored two books about city nightlife, “Portland after Dark” and “Seattle P.M.”
He began his professional career as a telephone salesman before climbing the corporate ladder to branch manager at Time Life Libraries in Dallas, Texas, where he oversaw 75 employees.
He returned to the Northwest to handle sales at Portland’s This Week Magazine and then Advo, a national direct mail company.
He landed in the Tri-Cities in 1997 to work as an account executive at the Tri-City Herald. He then transitioned to television advertising at the local ABC affiliate, KVEW TV.
Haugen was a master at business networking, thanks to his ready smile, warm personality, genuine care for people and penchant for puns.
“He went from being my sales rep to being my friend,” said Tana Bader Inglima, deputy CEO for the Port of Kennewick. “He always made time to stop in and sit down and visit with me when he personally dropped off publications each month. He truly cared about people and their interests and was never in a rush or too busy to check in. He was a true gentleman and an amazing example of how to treat the people with whom you work and interact. He was also so proud of his family and his work family too.”
Haugen helped grow the region’s annual SmartMap Manufacturing Expo, which started in 2003 and ran through 2013. The expo later spawned the annual Careers in Manufacturing event for local high school students and Haugen served on its board.
He was a longtime member of the city of Richland’s Tourism Committee and also served on the Mid-Columbia Symphony Board of Directors. He was a member of the Tri-Cities Commerce Club and Tri-Cities Business Development Group.
Kirt Shaffer of the Tippett Co. in Pasco said he appreciated Haugen’s inquisitive spirit, positive outlook and friendship.
“He definitely made an impact on our community, our business group and so many individuals. Mike was a good man, someone who I truly appreciated,” he said.
Nothing brought Haugen greater joy than spending time with his family. He was the proud father of Michael and Megan Haugen. He and his wife Debbie would have celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary on Dec. 3.
Haugen enjoyed old movies, especially the “Back to the Future” series, which he watched hundreds of times.
He loved golfing (including video golfing) with friends, sharing a meal at Sterling’s and anything with peanut butter (frozen Reese’s cups were his favorite treat around the office, where his candy bowl was always filled).
Haugen is survived by his wife Debbie; son and daughter-in-law Michael and Katy Haugen of Pasco; daughter Megan Haugen of Richland; sister and brother-in-law, Linda and Clinton Schultz of Spokane; sister and brother-in-law Susan and Johnny Velasquez of Peoria, Arizona; and brother and sister-in-law Pat and Tina Haugen of Portland.
In lieu of flowers, donations in Haugen’s memory may be made to The Chaplaincy Hospice House online at http://chaplaincyhealthcare.org/donate-now.
The family has said it is grateful to all who donated to their GoFundMe account to offset medical and memorial expenses. More than $13,000 has been raised.
A memorial service is set for 10 a.m. Friday, Nov. 2 at Sunset Gardens Event Center, 915 Bypass Highway in Richland.
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