Larry Gene Van Dyken was born on December 28, 1946, the first of eight children. His parents, Paul and Clarice Van Dyken, were married just after the end of World War II and raised their family in Salida and Ripon, California.
Larry attended Ripon Christian School, graduating with the class of 1964. He excelled in debate and math, and went on to attend Modesto Junior College and Calvin College. Soon after graduation he joined the Navy as an officer and served in Guam and Okinawa.
After his military service, he worked in construction at the Odiyan Retreat Center in Sonoma County, California, helping to build the magnificent structures there. He later attended the Five Branches school of Chinese medicine, graduating with a close group of friends with whom he stayed in contact the rest of his life. During this time he also worked as an electrician at his father’s business (N & S Home Appliance Company in Ripon) and at Riverside Lighting in Santa Cruz, California, where he had a devoted clientele who appreciated his skills in lamp repair.
Larry was diagnosed with advanced colon cancer in early November, 2018. After palliative surgery just before Thanksgiving, he recovered at the Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz and eventually moved to his family home in Ripon, California, where he passed away peacefully with the care of hospice and his family on December 12, 2018, at the age of 71.
Larry was known for his wry sense of humor, his gentle demeanor and smile, an obstinacy that served him well in debate and argument, a love of cooking (especially bread baking and drying persimmons), his love of privacy, his attachment to friends, and his pleasure in being invited to family occasions—especially dinners at the Crow’s Nest. He was a man of deep thought and feeling, but also of few words. With the onset of incurable cancer, he accepted his family’s love and commitment to him, choosing to be surrounded by those who cared for him deeply and counted it a privilege to serve him. This was a blessing not only to him, but also to us who loved him.
He is deeply missed by his mother, Clarice Van Dyken; by his siblings, Gayle Van Dyken, Cora Brouwer, Edith Bajema (Phil), Paul Van Dyken Jr. (Del), Ted Van Dyken (Carol), Barbara DeJong (Gord), and Ruth Rowenhorst (Russ); and by many nieces and nephews. A graveside memorial service will be held on Saturday, February 23, at the Ripon Memorial Cemetery at 10:30 a.m., followed by a luncheon at Zion United Reformed Church in Ripon; all are welcome.