Kenneth V. Van Dyke – Obituary

By  | July 26, 2017 | Filed under: Obituaries, Spry-Williams Funeral Home

 Kenneth V. Van Dyke, age 92, went home to be with the Lord on July 22, 2017. Visitation will be Thursday, July 27, from 10-11 a.m. at Spry-Williams Funeral Home. The funeral will follow at 11 a.m. in the funeral home chapel with Perry D. Taylor, minister of Stutts Road Church of Christ, officiating. Burial will be at Tri Cities Memorial Gardens.

Kenneth met and married the love of his life, Careen L. Gautney, Oct. 9, 1945, in Rogersville, Alabama. She preceded him in death on Sept. 26, 2001. Also preceding him in death were his parents and his brother, Melvin R. Van Dyke, also a bomber pilot in World War II (listed as missing in action in June of 1943).

Kenneth was born Aug. 30, 1924, in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Elmer V. and Alma T. (Sell) Van Dyke. Kenneth developed an interest in aviation at an early age. World War II provided him an opportunity to realize his dream of becoming a pilot. He enlisted in the Army Air Force in March of 1943. He completed aviation school and was appointed second lieutenant in December of 1944. He was assigned to pilot the B-17 (Flying Fortress) Heavy Bomber. Following the war he continued his Army Air Force career developing an interest in a new type of aircraft–the helicopter. He completed his training, and in December of 1954 was assigned as a helicopter pilot flying H-19 and H-13 aircraft. He was deployed to Korea during the Korean War and flew ground troop supply and evacuation support missions. He retired from the Air Force in November of 1964.

Upon retirement from the Air Force the Van Dyke family relocated to Florence, Alabama. Kenneth had a keen interest in electronics and became a certified electronics instructor. He taught electronics at Muscle Shoals Technical College until his retirement in December of 1985. Following retirement, Kenneth and Careen traveled extensively in their RV visiting all but a few of the United States.

Kenneth is survived by his son, retired Col. Melvin R. Van Dyke (Cathy); granddaughters, Dr. Melissa Kesler (Andrew) and Rachel Steyer (Andrew); grandson, Matthew Van Dyke (Ashley); great-granddaughters, Kate and Meredith Kesler; and numerous loving nieces and nephews.

The family extends their deep appreciation and gratitude to the doctors and staff at Glenwood Nursing Home and Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital. Family and friends will be received an hour before the service.

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