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Roland Knight "R.K." Van Gaasbeek


1929 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
Roland Knight "R.K." Van Gaasbeek Obituary
Van Gaasbeek, Roland Knight "R.K."



Roland Knight "R.K." Van Gaasbeek was born on January 21, 1929 in Atchison, Kansas. After graduating high school, he enlisted in the army. He was stationed in Europe to aid in the post-WWII reconstruction efforts. His time served overseas had a profound effect on him, turning him into an avid WWII history buff.

Upon completion of his military service, R.K. moved to New Mexico as a traveling hardware salesman for the Atchison based Blish, Mize & Silliman Hardware Company. He arrived in New Mexico in January 1952, starting a 60plus year love affair with his new adopted home state.

In 1956, R.K. married Rita Wassenberg. They celebrated 59 years of marriage together until her passing in November of 2015.

In the early 1960's, he entered the real estate industry, eventually working for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, as a disaster relief coordinator. He was responsible for helping people resettle in temporary housing after being displaced by hurricanes, floods and other natural disasters.

In 1973 Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards awarded him an executive commendation for his efforts on behalf of the residents of Louisiana displaced by the historic Mississippi River flooding of 1973.

After retiring from H.U.D., R.K. started a real estate appraisal company. He was the 17th appraiser to have been certified by the New Mexico Real Estate Appraiser's Board.

In addition to appraisals, R.K. became a "House-Flipper" well before that phrase was coined. He was still in the process of flipping houses at the time of his passing.

R.K.'s hobbies included: billiards, golf, fishing, building and restoring furniture, collecting antique tools, lunching with the Romeos (retired gentleman eating out) and above all else…BARGAIN HUNTING. Whether it was a piece of real estate, or a piece of meat at the grocery store, nothing made him happier than finding a good deal.

R.K. passed, quietly at home, on January 19, 2016 after a brief illness. He is survived by his daughter Anna Van Gaasbeek of Albuquerque, and son Jon Van Gaasbeek of Los Angeles.

A celebration of his life will be held on Saturday, January 30, 2016 at 2:00pm at FRENCH- Lomas. A portion of his ashes will remain in New Mexico, at his favorite fishing spot Monastery Lake, in Pecos. He will be interred next to his wife in Marysville, Kansas this spring in commemoration of what would have been their 60th wedding anniversary.

In lieu of flowers, donations are encouraged to be made to the Wounded Warrior Project, www.woundedwarriorproject.org or Habitat for Humanity, www.habitat.org .

Please visit our online guestbook for R.K. at FrenchFunerals.com.

FRENCH - Lomas

10500 Lomas Blvd. NE

(505) 275-3500
Published in Albuquerque Journal from Jan. 24 to Jan. 29, 2016
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