Mildred L. Gray Van Dyke, beloved wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, passed away peacefully at Memorial Hospital Skilled Nursing Unit, Towanda, Pa., on May 2, 2014. She was 91 years of age.
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Mildred was born in 1923 to Charlie D. and Velma Stevenson Gray in Grover, Pa. Her childhood home was attached to her family's general store in W. LeRoy, Pa. She liked to tell stories about growing up in the store including meeting her husband-to-be one day as she got off the school bus. She fondly recalled attending the LeRoy elementary school where she loved her teachers and all kinds of sports. She graduated from Canton High School as salutatorian.
Mildred married her husband, M. M. "Pat" Van Dyke, in the Methodist church which stood at the W. LeRoy crossroad. They first lived on the Van Dyke family farm, E. Canton, until they built their new home in Minnequa Heights. In 1951 they moved with their three children to Colorado Springs, Colo., and then to N. Hollywood, Calif., returning to E. Canton in 1953 simply because they missed their families and Pa. Early in their marriage she helped Pat on the farm, able to handle teams of horses or to drive tractors. She worked at Swayze Folding Box Co. in Canton for almost 40 years and at retirement was in charge of quality control. One of her lifelong joys was photography, and for many years she took wedding, anniversary and graduation photos for hundreds of area families. Her other loves were her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, vegetable gardening, quilting, crocheting and embroidery, and she was known for growing flowers and for her delicious cooking and baking. She remained agile; until age 90 she played on the floor with her grandchildren and could be seen outside mowing, weeding, and trimming. For many years, in the yards of their homes, Mildred planted memorial trees in memory of dear ones who had passed. She participated in many volunteer activities for the East Canton and Grover United Methodist churches.
Mildred was predeceased by her parents; her husband of 73 years, Meylert "Pat" Van Dyke in February 2014; and brother R. Waldo Gray.
Mildred is survived by her children, Trula V. Haflett, Troy, Pa., Terry Van Dyke, Bloomsburg, Pa., and Ann Marie Van Dyke, Harrisburg, Pa.; grandchildren, Christopher (Sharon) Van Dyke, Jasen (Jennifer) Van Dyke, Matthew (Lindsay) 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, Willow Van Dyke, Wade, June and Ethan Haflett, and Whitney and Olivia Haflett. She is also survived by brothers, Willis (Marilyn) Gray, Donald (Jannette) Gray; and sister, Doris (Marshall "Bud") Kennedy; and many nieces and nephews.
Memorial donations may be made to East Canton United Methodist Church, 5791 Route 414, Canton, PA 17724 or Western Alliance EMS, P.O. Box 13, Troy, PA 16947. A lovely memorial for Mildred would be to plant a tree.
Mildred chose as her motto, "If I should die tomorrow, I would plant a tree today" (Stephen Girard).
A family memorial service will be held at a later date. Pepper Funeral Home, Canton, Pa. is assisting her family with arrangements. Share online condolences at www.pepperfuneralhomes.com.
Pepper Funeral Home
578 Springbrook Dr Canton, PA 17724
Published in Daily Review on May 6, 2014