Meylert M. "Pat" Van Dyke, beloved husband, father and grandfather, passed away peacefully at Memorial Hospital Skilled Nursing Unit, Towanda, Pa., on Feb. 1, 2014. He was 98 years of age.
Pat was born in 1916 to M. Faye and Estella Wright Van Dyke on the family farm in East Canton, Pa., built by his great-grandparents in the mid-1880's, the present home of his nephew and family, Scott and Elaine Shedden. He spent his early years working on the farm, hauling milk to the East Canton Creamery using a horse-drawn cart and riding his pony to the East Canton elementary school. Pat attended Canton High School where he excelled in baseball and also played basketball for coach Jack Livezey. For several years Pat has been the oldest CHS graduate attending the Alumni Banquet.
Pat met his wife of 73 years, Mildred L. Gray, at her parents' general store in West LeRoy, Pa. They first lived on the East Canton family farm until they built their new home in Minnequa. Farming was Pat's first love, but, due to his asthma, in 1951 they moved with their three children to Colorado Springs, Colo., then later to N. Hollywood, Calif., returning to East Canton in 1953 simply because they missed their families and Pennsylvania. Pat was the first employee hired at the newly established Collins Valve Manufacturing Corporation, Canton, where he eventually became the purchasing agent. He retired in 1982 to turn his time and energy to expanding his flock of Suffolk sheep, raising a huge vegetable garden, volunteering at the East Canton United Methodist Church, delivering Meals on Wheels, and working as a guide at Troy Farm Museum. Pat built his own "sugar shanty" at their East Canton home where he made maple syrup and gave demonstrations to local groups. He donated many gallons of blood and also was a volunteer driver for Red Cross bloodmobiles. Pat was active in local politics, serving as a Republican committeeman and distributing numerous petitions. He was a role model for many young people in his family and community.
Pat loved growing things and raising animals: chickens, ducks, rabbits, dogs (particularly collies), cats, horses (riding, training and showing), pigs and cows, and showed his sheep at the Troy Fair. He enjoyed cutting and splitting wood and was always on the lookout for trees to cut. Pat told great stories of guiding "city slicker" deer hunters around the local mountains and finding them later when they got lost. A loyal Phillies baseball fan, he was treated to a home game by his grandsons when he was 91.
Pat was devoted to the East Canton United Methodist Church, joyfully volunteering to do everything from starting the furnace in the mornings to ringing the church bell, serving on the church board, putting on the new roof and helping build the new parsonage. He and Mildred made, baked, transported and sold apple dumplings, a church fundraiser, at the Apple-Cheese Festival, held at the farm formerly owned by his good friend Franklin Bohlayer.
Pat was predeceased by his parents; brother, Davis Van Dyke; sister, Evelyn V. Shedden Sechrist; and young sister, Elizabeth.
He is survived by his wife, Mildred Gray Van Dyke; children, Trula V. Haflett, Troy, Pa., Terry Van Dyke, Bloomsburg, Pa., and Ann Van Dyke, Harrisburg, Pa.; grandchildren, Christopher (Sharon) Van Dyke, Jasen (Jennifer) Van Dyke, Matthew (Lindsey) Van Dyke, Rachel and Sara Van Dyke, Jeffrey Haflett, Eric (Margaret) Haflett, Andrew (Sarah) Haflett, and two foster grandchildren, Andrew Hien Tran and Julia Boi Tran; great-grandchildren, Sayer, Coleman and Carter Van Dyke, Lillianna, Chloe and Joshua Van Dyke, Wade, June and Ethan Haflett, and Whitney and Olivia Haflett. He is also survived by sisters-in-law, Doris Kennedy, Marilyn Gray and Jannette Gray; brothers-in-law, Marshall "Bud" Kennedy, Willis Gray and Donald Gray; and many nieces, nephews and cousins.
Memorial donations may be sent to East Canton United Methodist Church, 5791 Rt. 414, Canton, PA 17724.
Pat will be remembered for his community service, kind heart and good humor. A memorial service will be held at the East Canton United Methodist Church at a date to be announced.
Published in Daily Review from Feb. 5 to Feb. 8, 2014