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John Maxson Van Doren

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John Maxson Van Doren Obituary

John was born August 31, 1931, the fourth of five children to Francis S. Van Doren and Bessie Lucille (Watson) Van Doren.

He was raised on what was then one of the larger farms in Virginia. Following his graduation from Osbourn High School in Manassas, Virginia, John attended Virginia Tech majoring in Animal Husbandry, with a minor in Political Science. However, he was bothered by the Korean conflict and consequently left to join the Air Force. Air Force schooling led to a degree in Behavioral Sciences and upon his retirement, after twenty-two years, he found work as a Social Worker with the U.S. Department of Mental Health. He enjoyed working with people.

More schooling led John to find employment with the U.S. Marshal Service as Supervisor of the National Prisoner Transportation System. He combined his time in the Air Force with Civil Service and retired while with the US Army Corps of Engineers as an Emergency Management Specialist, a total of thirty-six years of government service. He enjoyed his seven years with the Corps the most, where he was involved in the recovery actions following the Mt. St. Helens eruption, as well as numerous other disasters. John was a writer who wrote numerous plans for the preparation of, response to and recovery from numerous types of disasters.

The year 1987 found him in Pittsburgh, Pa., the home of his then-second wife, Mary Jane, where he was the Owner/Manager of Van Doren and Associates, an investigative agency. His expertise took him to Fort Worth, Texas where he worked as a security consultant for General Dynamics, resigning to care for his wife who was suffering from Alzheimer's.

John worked as a ranch manager prior to moving to Alamogordo. He came to Alamogordo to escape the freezing temperatures of Kansas. Politics was still in his bones when the opportunity came to run for and become elected City Commissioner. He was appointed Mayor Pro-Tem and served in that capacity for six years.

He was responsible for the establishment of "Keep Alamogordo Beautiful," an affiliation of "Keep America Clean" and involved in the expansion of Highway 54 to El Paso, Texas. He was appointed Representative of Alamogordo to the organization "S.P.I.R.I.T." and elected Vice Chairman. The organization was involved in lobbying for the expansion of highway 54 from El Paso to Chicago. He was also responsible for "Welcome to Alamogordo" signs, as well as sponsoring the painting of the "A" on the mountain on two occasions. As Commissioner he was backed by his highly respected friend and mentor, Jim Griggs. John was consumed by the desire to enhance the potential beauty of Alamogordo. He was re-elected four years later, serving his two year term before deciding to move back "East", this following the passing of his wife four years previous.

John's health took a downturn and a lady friend, Sarah, in Alamogordo, came to his aid in Maryland and the two were married soon thereafter. This marriage prompted a return to Alamogordo where they have resided since April 2006.

Mr. Van Doren is survived by his wife Sarah of the family home; son Danny and wife Joni; son David and wife Gina; daughter Theresa Riker and husband, Mark, all of Front Royal, Va.; daughter Christine Ortiz and husband John of Thurmont, Md.; daughter Nancy Stover of Munford, Tenn., and Sharon Robertson and husband Mark of Charlotte, N.C.; sister-in-law Deborah; and sister Betty Wood all of Manassas, Va.; numerous grandchildren and several great-grandchildren; many friends and great neighbors.

He was preceded in death by his parents and three brothers Francis, Emory and Elliott, as well as his first wife LaVerle Mary Thereaux Van Doren, second wife Mary Jane Brady Van Doren, and his daughter Darlene Lessard.

He was a member of St. John's Episcopal Church where he served as a Vestry Member. He was also a member of the Air Force Association, the Air Force Sergeants Association, the NRA, the American Legion, the VFW and the Republican Party.

The family will greet friends from 5-7 p.m., Monday Oct. 5, 2015 at the Hamilton O'Dell Funeral Home Chapel.
The funeral service will be conducted Tuesday Oct. 6, 2015 at 10 a.m. at St. John's Episcopal Church, at 1114 Indiana with Father Tom Lowe officiating. Burial will follow at Monte Vista Cemetery with USAF honors. A reception will be held at the church following interment.
Pallbearers include: Paul Darnold, Don Carroll, Robert Rentschler, Paul Fazenbaker, David Van Doren, Craig Cathey and Eric Sanderson Should friends desire contributions may be made to St. John's Episcopal Church or the in John's name.

The Van Doren family has entrusted their loved one to the care of Hamilton-O'Dell Funeral Home to direct the services.
To sign the online register book, please visit www.hamiltonodell.com.
Published in Alamogordo Daily News from Oct. 4 to Nov. 3, 2015
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