John Robert Bob VanValkenburg, 81, a long time Mount Vernon, Wash., resident passed away Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2006 in Everett, after a long battle with cancer.
Bob, as he was known all his life, was born Sept. 18, 1925 to Frank V. VanValkenburg, Sr. and Thrina VanValkenburg in Mount Vernon. He graduated from Mount Vernon High School, class of 1943 and attended Skagit Valley Community College.
He was united in marriage to Gloria M. McFarlane on Nov. 26, 1948 and to Alice Parton on Feb. 14, 1986.
After high school Bob began working in his fathers business, Piston Service Co., an automotive machine shop and parts store. He joined the Washington State Guard, a volunteer civil defense home guard unit, and rose to the rank of sergeant by the end of WWII when the unit was dissolved. At the same time, Bob joined the Mount Vernon Fire Department as a volunteer and continued serving for 43 years, acting as a Fire Commissioner for District No. 1, officer, firefighter, driver and engineer.
When Bobs brother, Frank Jr. returned from the war they entered into a partnership with their father in Piston Service Co. of Mount Vernon, buying the business in 1955 and operating it together until their retirement and sale of the store in 1986.
In the early 1960s when Bob found there were not enough Little League teams for all the boys who wanted to play, he sponsored and helped coach a team for over 10 years.
Bob was an active member of the Skagit Valley Riding Club, serving as treasurer several years and helping to put on the annual rodeo in the 1950s and 1960s. During that time he was also a member of the Grange.
His church was an important part of Bobs life; he was a life-long member of the First United Methodist Church, beginning in Mount Vernon and later the same church on Colby Avenue after moving to Everett in 1986.
Bob was an accomplished worker with wood. He remodeled his old farmhouse east of Mount Vernon, then went on to build barns, remodel his beach home on Camano Island, help his sons build and remodel their homes, participated in Habitat for Humanity through his church and finally spent many evenings in his small workshop making wood toys and gifts for children and to be sold at the church bazaar.
He also loved to hunt and fish. As a young man he hunted the Skagit flats for ducks and geese, took his sons pheasant hunting in Eastern Washington, then thanks to the Ploeg family of Sammish Island, discovered elk hunting which has been his passion for the past 50 years, completing his last hunt just prior to his passing. He would spend long hours on the waters off Camano Island fishing and crabbing. He made several trips to Alaska and British Columbia to fish for salmon. Bob also loved to travel, taking trips to Spain, the Caribbean, Alaska, Hawaii and across the United States several times.
Bob is survived by his wife, Alice of 20 years at home in Everett; sons Steven (Lucinda) VanValkenburg of Arlington and David (Virginia) VanValkenburg of Sedro Woolley, Wash.; step-daughter Ginger (Bert) Colburn of Bothell; step-son, David (Paula) Parton of Leavenworth, Wash.; brother Frank Jr. (Eunice) of Vancouver, Wash.; sister, Janet (Ted) White of Albuquerque, New Mexico; grandchildren, Shawn (Darrell) Parris of Sedro Woolley, Shad (Sarah) Waite of Bellingham, Marcie (Toby) Ozaki of Sedro Woolley, SSGT. Scott (SGT. Jackie) VanValkenburg, US Army, John (Kristen) VanValkenburg of Mount Vernon and Tyler VanValkenburg of Alger, Wash.; step-grandchildren, Joseph (Lanie) Colburn of Bothell, Leah and Stephanie Parton of Leavenworth; seven great-grandchildren, numerous nieces, nephews, and extended family and many close friends.
A memorial service was held at 2 p.m. Monday, Dec. 18, 2006 at the First United Methodist Church, 3530 Colby Ave., Everett, Wash.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to any of Bobs favorite charities, First United Methodist Church, Habitat for Humanity, Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.
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