American Veteran 01

Leo Flynn Van Valkenburg

February 19, 1925 ~ November 16, 2020 (age 95)



By an Unknown Author

We’ll always remember
that special smile,
that caring heart,
that warm embrace,
you always gave us.
You being there
for Mom and us,
through good and bad times,
no matter what.
We’ll always remember
you Dad because
they’ll never be another one
to replace you in our hearts,
and the love we will always
have for you.



We did simple things that always showed how our family loved each other- and how he always took care of me:

When I was training as competitive figure skater- it was my Dad who helped me get up at 4:30 in the morning to go skate before school. He taught me how to drive the challenging L.A. freeways and which lanes to be in to stay safe. He worried along with my Mom during the times I was injured. My Dad got to share in the success when we made the International team by going to Europe for summer competitions.  Many years later we would go again for professional competitions in Spain. We became coffee experts with the help of my Mom.

We had fun too- My Dad built us a brand-new swimming pool one summer and when we came back from summer training camp- there was the new pool. It made a huge difference in surviving those hot summers in the San Fernando Valley heat.

Sometimes we were able to visit my Grandparents in Grass Valley where they had a ranch- lots of fun for us and great family reunions. Dad, along with his parents taught us how to ride horses, feed the cattle, and have a break from the city. Even my Dad was scared of the bull- we were too!

When I was in high school, in Glendale, we had an incredibly busy schedule. But Sunday morning was always a great time for waffles or pancakes; especially sourdough waffles. My Dad always made great waffles for us to enjoy.

When I was away at college back East in Boston; he came to visit me and stayed for a week. It was a great sacrifice of effort and finances to do university and competitive skating; consequently, it was a joy for me to show my Dad how I was coaching and doing well at university.

My Dad always loved animals and we always had dogs and sometimes a few cats along the way. We had Perky and Cutie, and Tootsie; three Shit-zu/Lhasa dogs that really ran the house. They would sit glued to his side while he was cooking the turkey for all our fabulous holiday meals. His favorite cocker spaniel was Doogie that he shared with my sister Candy. We had the only Spaniel who was afraid of the water.

Even when I was a mature adult and my parents were now living with me; he would make my lunch with such care and make sure I had everything I needed for my long day of work and travel. He would cut my apple just right and check my chewing gum supply along with some water or coffee in case I had to sit in heavy traffic. When I worked late- he would stay up until I came home and cook or sit with me while I ate dinner sometimes at 9:30 or 10:00 at night.

We loved watching football together and had great fun when we had season tickets to the Raiders games when they were in Los Angeles. We followed them faithfully and we watched them build their new stadium on our last visit to Las Vegas. When he moved up north so all of us could live together, we went to the Warriors basketball playoff games. All of us were so excited when the Giants won the World Series- even though we were raised on Dodger Blue. We also rooted for the “A” s!  One of the best gifts I ever got my Dad was his “big screen tv”. We were big “Olympics” fans and would watch the summer and winter games as a family. I was so delighted to take my Dad to the 2002 Salt Lake City Winter Olympic Games. We saw all of the events but of course Figure Skating was our focus. He even sat outside to see all of the ski racing and ski jumping; even when it was really cold. My Dad thought Short Track Speed Skating and Apollo Ono were amazing.

One of our best family vacations was to Branson, Missouri in 2019. We got to stop and visit his sister Letha, all my cousins and their children plus the new grandchildren that had arrived a few months before. It was a great Branson. We rode the steam locomotive train, had a beautiful dinner cruise and watched Dolly Pardon’s Wild West Roundup. He loved the show; especially where they had to catch the chickens and show off their horsemanship. We had fun shopping at a traditional 5 and 10 cent store along with visiting the servicemen’s museum. He was a true believer in the U.S.A.

During his recent illness- I would remind nurses and doctors that he was a WWII veteran- someone who had survived that conflict and he was a first responder as an engineer in the L.A. City Fire Dept. downtown L.A. a heavy industrial area. My Dad was trying to get better and I wanted him to have every chance to recover from his stroke; that we were all determined to help him get better.  I would tell them of his award from the city of saving six people from a burning hotel by carrying them out himself or how he would go back into the fire after the kittens and the dogs. He was also a fire house chef of note-as the Chief of the fire department always wanted to come over for his holiday pies and dinners.

I appreciate this moment to share just a few thoughts of what an amazing “Dad” I had and would love to give him one more hug and kiss on the cheek. I am sad that this Covid-19 crisis took away some of our time together in the last few months- but my Dad always knew we were there with a phone call, a visit to the window, face time, and get well cards or flowers. My Dad was just the best!

When I reflect on our times together, I think about how he helped me as a child; riding my two-wheel bike, Algebra Math problems, painting my room a different color and as an Adult, helping me do my taxes.
“My dad was my hero. He was the most courageous and resourceful man. I never questioned if he loved or cared for me because he always made the effort. I still feel him with me each day and I will live life for the both of us now sharing all those times with Mom.

Your loving daughter forever,



Your loving loving daughter forever,

Brie Carter

Brie Carter

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What Makes A Dad

God took the strength of a mountain,
The majesty of a tree,
The warmth of a summer sun,
The calm of a quiet sea,
The generous soul of nature,
The comforting arm of night,
The wisdom of the ages,
The power of the eagle's flight,
The joy of a morning in spring,
The faith of a mustard seed,
The patience of eternity,
The depth of a family need,
Then God combined these qualities,
When there was nothing more to add,
He knew His masterpiece was complete,
And so, He called it... Dad

By Brie Carter

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