Ervin John Van Asten
Ervin John Van Asten, age 87, died on Friday, July 18, 2014 at Heartwood Homes, 1413 N. Mason St., Appleton, 54914. Erv was a loving husband, father grandfather, great-grandfather, brother and uncle.
He was born in Freedom on December 1, 1926, to the late William A. Van Asten and Delia (Maas) Van Asten. He spent his childhood on the family farm in Freedom and joined the U.S. Navy at age 17. After completing basic training at the Great Lakes Naval Station, he served on the U.S.S. Maloy and the U.S.S. Zenobia as a Fireman First Class. He was stationed in Charleston, South Carolina, Fort Pierce, Florida, and Brooklyn, New York decommissioning ships upon their return after WWII. He was Honorably Discharged from U.S. Naval Company 2254 on July 23, 1946 and always treasured a letter from President Truman thanking him for his service.
He married Alice Van Handel of Little Chute on June 23, 1949. He was the original self-made man, holding various jobs in the Fox Valley area during a fascinating and diverse career. He was employed as a store stocker, meat cutter, cab driver and dispatcher, technician for the Curtiss Candy Company, and estimator for Beyer Building Company of Kaukauna. In 1961, he found his passion when he became a salesman for A. O. Smith Harvestore of Kankakee, Illinois.
He enjoyed considerable success selling Harvestore structures and equipment in Manitowoc County, and soon became a Sales Manager and partner in Fox Valley Harvestore. Erv quickly became one of the most respected leaders in the northeastern Wisconsin agricultural community. In 1976, he became the senior partner of Foxland Harvestore in Little Chute. Along with partners Ken Kabat and Larry Sharron, he grew the business until it was one of the top-ranked dealerships in the nation. During his years working for Fox Valley and Foxland, he and Alice lead numerous customer trips to destinations in the U. S., Caribbean, Europe, and North Africa.
After retiring in 1985, he and Alice began traveling each winter to warmer climates in Arizona and Florida. They eventually bought a retirement home in Lakeland, Florida, where they enjoyed an active lifestyle and a large community of friends. They moved back to Little Chute in 2008. Erv was a faithful member of St. Edward Catholic Church in Mackville, serving on the Parish Council and as a Trustee. He taught CCD for many years. He was a lifelong member of the VFW Freedom Post 7692, American Legion Post 258, Knights of Columbus, and Kiwanis, International, serving as Treasurer. In his constant quest to learn new things, he obtained his real estate license in his seventies and shared his management expertise by volunteering with SCORE. He was a 40-year colon cancer survivor and spent many hours as a patient counselor at St. Elizabeth Hospital. In his later years, he worked with children as a reading tutor.
He enjoyed spending time with family at their cottage, camping at Oakwood Campsites in Wild Rose, boating, attending antique car shows, woodworking, playing cards, and collecting and restoring antique radios. He had a lifetime love of reading and always had something interesting to add to the conversation. He felt privileged to participate, along with other Appleton area veterans including his brother Jerry, in a Flight of Honor to the WWII Memorial in Washington, D.C. in October of 2010.
Erv is survived by his wife of 65 years, Alice (Van Handel) Van Asten, five daughters; Sherry (Elroy) Barth of Appleton, Kristie (Greg) Smith of Greensboro, NC, Debra (Joe) Weiland of Green Bay, Gail (Chuck) Ruys of Appleton, and Jill (Duane) Repp of Hartland. He had twelve grandchildren; Carolyn Vander Heiden, Joshua Barth (Sherry), Eric Smith (Ellie), Andrea Smith Cowart (Michael), Corinne Smith, Ryan Weiland, John Weiland (Shelly), Greg Weiland (Alissa), Adam Ruys, Dan Ruys, Matthew Repp, Kathryn Repp, and great-grandchildren, Hope Lynn Barth, Kate Weiland, and Liam Weiland.
He is survived by all seven of his brothers and sisters; Gerald Van Asten, Arthur (Bonnie) Van Asten, Germaine Ambrosious, Elaine (Bernie) Miller, Ronald (Ann) Van Asten, Mary Ann Neubert, Diane (Leo) Gilsdorf, and 24 nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, Erv was preceded in death by brothers-in-law Jerome Van Handel, Donald Van Handel, Wilfred Ambrosious, and David Neubert; sister-in-law, Catherine Van Asten, nephews Rick Van Asten, Scott Van Handel, Russell Neubert, Dwayne Neubert, and James Van Asten.
The Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 5:00 p.m. on Monday, July 21, 2014 at St. Edward Catholic Church in Mackville, with visitation beginning at 2:30 p.m. His funeral mass will be celebrated by Father Walter Stumpf and Deacon Kenneth Kabat. A private entombment will take place on Tuesday at Highland Memorial Park in Appleton.
Condolences may be expressed by visiting www.verkuilenfh.com
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to St. Edward Catholic Church, N2926 State Road 47, Appleton, 54913.