John Ross Van Dyke
John was born in Kewanee, IL. to Charles C. Van Dyke and Frances M. Butterwick. He had an idyllic childhood in Galesburg, IL shared with his older brother, Clifford C. Van Dyke. The two boys spent summers with their grandparents in Kewanee who owned a hardware store and a machine shop.
As a member of the Boy Scouts, John achieved the rank of Eagle Scout. After graduating from Galesburg High School, he attended Knox College in Galesburg and Bradley University in Peoria, IL, where he met his future wife, Mary Jean Thompson. John then joined the Navy and soon after they eloped in 1954. By chance he was stationed in Mountain View, CA and served on the Yorktown aircraft carrier. After his time in the Navy, John graduated from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Soon after their children were born, the family moved to Goleta, CA in 1965.
As a loving father and grandfather his children and grandchildren were his pride and joy. He was involved in their interests and activities and was their number 1 fan at countless performances and sporting events.
John was a car, boat and airplane enthusiast and an expert in all things mechanical. His family and friends would often comment, “He can fix anything!” At the age 78 he accomplished a lifelong dream to fully restore a self-made house car originally built by John’s grandfather, Charles Earnest Van Dyke, which has since garnered awards and accolades in car shows.
As an active member of the Graham Owner’s Club International for many years, John and Mary Jean travelled every year throughout the country to several car meets. He also participated in the Antique Auto Club of America, and Antique Outboard Motor Club of So Cal.
John will be missed by family and friends who knew him as a gentle, kind, and genuine man. He is survived by his wife of 68 years, Mary Jean Van Dyke of Goleta, his children, Tom Van Dyke, and Susan (Van Dyke) Patzlaff, both of Huntington Beach, CA, four grandchildren, Daniel and Jessica Patzlaff, and Tyler and Dr. Sara Van Dyke, and his brother, Clifford C. Van Dyke of Benzonia, Michigan.
At his request there will be no memorial service. If you wish, please donate in his honor to the Gary Sinise Foundation or a charity of your choice supporting U.S. Veterans.