Dennis G. Van Eck died peacefully at his home on Nov. 30 surrounded by his family, two days before his 94th birthday.
Dennis maintained his tenacious attitude and quick wit during his entire life. His philosophy of "If it is going to be, it's got to be me" helped him endure the required exercise regiment needed to keep himself moving following paralysis. Dennis had a unique way at looking at life and its challenges, helping ease those around him to also look at life differently. Dennis left this world on his own terms, making his own cremation arrangements, writing his obituary below and including this picture taken three weeks ago.
Dennis was born and raised in metropolitan Detroit. After joining the U.S. Army
Air Corps in World War II
, Dennis was stationed in Texas, Arizona and Utah, then became a high-altitude instructor at Peterson Field in Colorado Springs. Following the war Dennis returned with his new bride, Evelyn, to Michigan to assist his father and eventually assume management for the family-owned professional remodeling/decorating business, which focused on large mansions and funeral homes. The couple focused their life toward raising their three children and were very active in their church and community.
Dennis & Evelyn retired to Laguna Hills, Ca., but fulfilled their lifelong dream of returning to the mountains and moved back to Colorado Springs following their 50th wedding anniversary. Dennis provided care for his wife during her final eight years of illness, then moved to Williamsburg in 2009 to be close to his son and daughter-in-law following his sudden double paralysis. He resided in Chambrel at Williamsburg, then Spring Arbor of Williamsburg.
Dennis is predeceased by his wife, Evelyn R. Van Eck; brother, Robert Van Eck; and parents, Daniel & Fanny Van Eck. He is survived by his son, Dale Van Eck & his wife, Kim, of Williamsburg; daughters, Sandra Andringa & her husband, Gordon, of Traverse City, Mi; and Dr. Ellen Van Eck of Newport Beach, Ca. Kim was considered a third daughter, assuming the roles of companion and full-time caregiver for the last four years.
Dennis is also survived by grandchildren Erin Chin and Sean Chin; step-grandchildren Kim Andringa and family and Tara Dunfee and family; as well as cousins, nephews and nieces. Special friends included Dave and Trudy Foster and Gary and Nancy Vasek of Colorado Springs; Polly Hearney of Williamsburg; and Rol & Marlene Collins and Shadow of Williamsburg.
Weymouth Funeral Home in Newport News facilitated the cremation. There will be no local visitation or memorial service. A private family ceremony will be held at the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs to honor the wishes of Dennis and Evelyn.
In lieu of flowers to the family, Dennis requests everyone support veterans young and old by hiring them, buying them lunch to say thank you, donating time to mentor and support them in the community, and/or making a donation to one of the following charities: Paralyzed Veterans of America at www.pva.org
or by mail to 11620 Busy St., North Chesterfield, Va 23236-4060; or Disabled American Veterans at www.dav.org
or by mail to P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, Oh. 45250-0301.