Richard Ronald Van Vacter (1933 - 2019)

4 entries | 2 photos
  • "Thank you Ruth, Julie Cathy and Wendy for letting us share..."
    - Molly Webb
  • "I met Richard in 1981 when we gathered at his sister..."
    - Molly Webb
  • "My dad... Jim Phillips and Mr. Van Vacter were friends and..."
  • "Richard has always been a favorite cousin, I will miss all..."
    - Jeri Hoskins
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Service Information
Montecito Memorial Park
3520 E Washington St
Colton, CA
Funeral service
Friday, Sep. 6, 2019
1:00 PM
Montecito Memorial Park
3520 E Washington St
Colton, CA 92324
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Richard Ronald Van Vacter
October 30, 1933 - August 16, 2019

On Friday, August 16, 2019, Richard Ronald Van Vacter, loving husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, friend, and classic man of the railroad, passed away at the age of 85. Richard was born on October 30, 1933 in St. Joseph, Missouri, the eighth of eleven children born to Oren David and Vivian Juanita Van Vacter. Richard lived in St. Joseph until aged 17 when he joined the Air National Guard, then deployed to France. Upon returning from overseas duty, Richard moved to California where he met his wife Ruth and started a family. He went to work for the Santa Fe Railroad first as a Signal Maintainer and later as the General Chairman for the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalman. These duties took him throughout the American West, living in California and Colorado. He worked tirelessly representing members engaged in vital railroad work. He finished his career in Kansas as the CEO of Employee Benefits Association for Railroad Workers. He was passionate about politics, the railroad, and his family. He was involved in Little League Baseball as a coach and District Administrator in Barstow, California in the 1960s and early 70s. He also established and co-owned the Play-Mor Family Billiard Center in Barstow for a time. He was happily married to Ruth for 65 years. Richard is survived by his wife Ruth Van Vacter of Calimesa, California, his sister Juanita Smith of Yucaipa, California, his daughter and son-in law Julie Van Vacter Billa and Adil Billa of La Quinta, California, his daughter Wendy Van Vacter of Las Vegas, Nevada, his daughter-in-law Cathy Van Vacter of La Quinta, California, his granddaughter and her husband Theresa and Brett Ulrich of Morris Plains, New Jersey, and his grandson Brian Swatsley of Aurora, Colorado. He is preceded in death by a son, Daniel. Funeral Services will be held on September 6, 2019, at 1:00 PM at the Valley View Chapel at Montecito Memorial Park at 3520 E. Washington St., in Colton, California. The service will be followed by a reception. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests that donations be made to the Gary Sinise Foundation by calling 888-708-7757 or visiting the website at
Published in the Daily Press on Aug. 22, 2019
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Funeral Home Details
Colton, CA   (909) 825-3024
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