7 entries | 3 photos
  • "Rest in peace with our Lord Mr. Van Dusen. Mae....Paula's..."
  • "Taken from us too soon, The Best Dad in the world I will..."
  • "This gentle man walked into our lives a few years ago. He..."
    - Gary Johnson
  • "Van, you became part of our group of car enthusiasts and we..."
    - Tracy Friend
  • "I will always love you Dad. Will miss you everyday."
    - Paula Van Dusen
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VERNON (VAN) E. VAN DUSEN Einan's at Sunset Vernon (Van) E. Van Dusen, 87, of Richland WA went home to be with the Lord on 3-18-17 at the Richland Rehabilitation Center, where he was recovering from hip surgery. He was born in Spokane WA on Sept. 6, 1929 to Vernon E. Sr. and Angela M. Van Dusen. The family moved to Richland as Vernon was entering high school and he competed in track where he ran a 9.9 100 yrd. Dash. Later he "poked" (hit) the principle for calling him names and was expelled from high school. This lead him to join the Air Force as an aviation mechanic, in which he served honorably from 1947-1950 in the Philippines. Upon his discharge, he returned to and graduated from Richland high school ("52") to fulfill a promise to his parents. Then he moved to California where he attended USC, but felt he was better suited to become an auto mechanic, so he started Van's Repair Shop in 1955; serviced foreign cars, and even worked on cars for Paul Newman, Rusty Hamer, Mickey Thompson and others. During this time, he started racing cars and serving on independent pit crews. Then he joined Carroll Shelby's race team as their carburetor specialist and traveled the US and European NASCAR circuit. Van and a few team members came up with the idea of putting a 289 engine into a Sunbeam body (later- Sunbeam Tiger), and they pitted their new creation against the 289 Cobra and found it was quicker! Van returned to the Tri Cities in the 70's started driving truck for Neil Lampson (19 yrs.) and served on local pit crews until he got esophageal cancer in 1992. This set him back a bit, but he recovered, and at 65 yrs. bought (on a social security pension) and raced a specialty 4-cylinder race car. He reacquainted himself with fellow "52" class members and then Beverlee Jochen ("52") in 2005. These classmates became beloved by Van as they loved and supported him. He especially loved Beverlee through whom he said he really learned what love was like. They encouraged and supported each other through hard times as Bev negotiated through colon cancer, and Van prostate cancer in 2008. His search for love lead him to surrender his life to and acknowledge Jesus as God and Savior. It also lead him to understanding the importance of relationships. Bev passed in 2010, and Van survived kidney cancer in 2012. He bought a 31 Model T Hotrod and traveled to local hotrod shows where he gained beloved friends who not only loved and supported him, but also invited him into their families. This meant much to Van! He is survived by his beloved sister, Claris Troutman, nephew, Skip Knox, three daughters: Paula Van Dusen, Nina Van Dusen (Poor), Claris Van Dusen; three step sons, Greg Jochen, Rodney Jochen and Adam Countryman; step daughters, Dannette Countryman and Candice Countryman and his ex-wife, Bernice Van Dusen. A Memorial Graveside service will be held 10:00am, Saturday, April 1 at Sunset Gardens, with a reception to follow immediately at Events at Sunset, 915 ByPass Hwy, Richland, WA. Express your thoughts and memories on our online Guestbook at
Published in Tri-City Herald on Mar. 26, 2017