Donald Allen Van Gorder East Lansing Donald Allen Van Gorder, 88, died August 2, 2013 was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Janet Ruth (Stadle) Van Gorder. Don was born on a farm in Maquoketa, Iowa to Charles and Florence (Hamilton) Van Gorder. Don attended the University of Iowa prior to his military service in the Army Air Corp. After his honorable discharge he attended and graduated from Michigan State University. Don Joined the Aetna Life Insurance Company in 1951 and became one of the leading life producers for the company. Don was a member of the Lansing Life Underwriters, The Greater Lansing Estate Planning Council, a Charter Life Underwriter, and a life member of the Million Dollar Round Table. He was past president of the Haslett-Okemos Rotary Club and past president of the Okemos OAKS program. Don enjoyed playing cards, golfing with his friends from Walnut Hills Country Club and Indian Hills, and following the Spartans. We have lost another member of the "greatest generation" who sacrificed so much for so many others. Our Dad was born and raised on a farm in Iowa, attended school in a one room school house, left the farm to attend college, became a B-17 bomber pilot in WWII, and graduated from M.S.U. after his military service. He embraced fatherhood and all the joy and responsibilities of it. He was a gentle giant; with strong hands and a strong back which the labors of a farm life demanded. He had a kind heart. He was involved in every aspect of his childrens' lives. Most summer late afternoons he could be found in the side lot pitching balls to the neighborhood kids as the "all time pitcher" or building an ice rink in the winter for all the neighborhood children to enjoy. Every child was welcome to join in the fun, be involved in his activities and were influenced by the examples he set. He was always present at practices, tennis matches, and games. We often would look up to see him in the long shadows of a late fall day, watching over us. He was there, always, not only for us but for other children as well. He was a provider, protector, mentor whose influence passes on in us and the other children who were lucky enough to share his life. We will miss him terribly and consider ourselves blessed to be his children. Surviving are his children; Virginia A. (Ginny) Brooks (Kenneth), Mary E. (Liz) Morgan, Donald Allen Van Gorder, Jr. (Karen Kent), David Hamilton Van Gorder (Lisa W.). Grand children; Kristin A. Brooks, Andrew T. Brooks, Stephanie E. Morgan, Melissa A. Cuthbert (Andrew), Matthew P. Morgan, Emily C. Morgan, Bradley W. Van Gorder, Grace C. Van Gorder, and Benjamin A. Van Gorder. There will be no memorial service held. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Don's memory to Hospice House of Mid- Michigan, PO Box 30480, Lansing, MI 48909. Affiliated with Sparrow Hospital. The family is being served by Gorsline Runciman Funeral Homes, East Lansing. Memories and condolences may be shared with the family at www.greastlansing.com.
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Published in Lansing State Journal on Sept. 1, 2013