Harry & Janie Van Dyke

4/3/1929 to 10/22/2017 & 10/7/1931 to 7/13/2016 (respectively)

Formerly of San Jose

 

“My beautiful brown eyed girl, I will carry you across the threshold once again…”

 

image of Harry and Janie Van Dyke

Janie and Harry Van Dyke

Harry Galen Van Dyke was born in Ft. McPherson, GA to Master Sgt. Gerald Mason Van Dyke and Alexandria (Chernobrivzeff) Van Dyke. Janie Kathleen (Campos) Van Dyke was born in San Jose, CA to Joseph and Marie Campos. Harry enlisted in the U.S. Army at age 17. Just days before reporting to duty, Harry met Janie at a summer BBQ. Obviously smitten with Janie, Harry asked her to wait for him to return. Janie agreed and a two year, long-distance courtship ensued, mainly through handwritten letters. Harry and Janie were married on February 19, 1949. Shortly after marriage, Janie contracted polio and Harry faithfully took it upon himself to nurse Janie back to health. Together they raised five children and fostered a half dozen more. Despite not having much in savings, there was always room at their table for more guests (often a lot more) to break bread with. Many of the friends Harry and Janie met from high school (Santa Clara), work or many of the organizations where they volunteered their time, were their friends for life. Although most would say they looked better in pastels, Harry and Janie were red, white and blue through and through.

 

Harry and Janie lived in Campbell and San Jose, CA from 1950 to 1985. In 1981, Harry retired from Pacific Telephone Co. As a Steward for the Communication Workers of America, Harry dedicated years towards fighting the good fight for workers’ rights, wages and benefits. Harry cherished Janie and believed she deserved to see the world even though he did not want this for himself; he always felt honored to provide the opportunity for her. Janie loved to travel and was fortunate to do so through her leadership and lifetime membership in Epsilon Sigma Alpha Sorority, which supports numerous charitable organizations, including St Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital and Easter Seals.

 

In 1985, Harry and Janie moved to Selma, Oregon where Harry fulfilled a lifelong dream of retiring outside of California’s tax bracket and residing in a beautiful creekside home on seven backcountry acres. A carved wooden sign hung above the entrance to their property which read “Lagniappe” – a Creole French phrase meaning “a little something extra” – it was the perfect word to describe their special place. Harry said that the most important part of being a grandparent is knowing and sharing in the life of your grandchildren; their home in Selma was ideal for this and it’s where they heard hundreds of stories of everyone’s life, adventures and triumphs. Once your visit had ended, you packed up the car and made your rounds of hugs and kisses in the driveway, Janie would share these parting words, “Drive carefully and be polite.” Harry would then retreat back into the house, check and lock the doors and turn-off all the unnecessary lights.

 

When not entertaining family or friends, Harry and Janie were always extending a helping hand to their many neighbors- Harry was designated the Neighborhood Watch Commander, taking reports and relaying suspicious activity to the local sheriffs. Janie was also noted for her work with Oregon’s Adult Literacy Program, which she travelled around the State to support. Between 2008 and 2017, Harry and Janie made several moves within Washington State to accommodate their health needs and to be within closer reach of family. They lived for several years on Whidbey Island, where they enjoyed wonderful views of the Puget Sound and awesome sunsets.

 

Harry and Janie’s life was a story of good deeds, open hearts and always an open home.

 

Harry and Janie were preceded in death by their son Michael, their great grandson Matthew Moses, Janie’s brother Harry Campos, and Harry’s older brother Alexander Gerald “AG”.

 

Harry and Janie are survived by their daughters Micki Dahl (John), Midge Litke (Michael), Claudia Simons (Bill), and their son Matthew (Lisa), thirteen grandchildren: Christine Dahl-Burns (David), Matthew Van Dyke (Cynthia), Michael Litke (Kristin), Bryan Dahl (Rachel), Nathan Litke (Christy), Joseph Dahl, William Simons (Libby), Zachary Litke, David Dahl, Alexandria Simons, Allen Van Dyke, Nicholas Van Dyke and Sara Van Dyke, and nine great grandchildren: John Mason, Madison, Stephen, Joseph, Mavis, Stella, Colin, Bryan II, Liam and Deacon. Janie is also survived by her little sister Mackie Haskin.

 

The Van Dyke family appreciates all your warm thoughts and prayers.

7 Responses to “Harry & Janie Van Dyke”

  • Marilyn Geer says:

    Condolances to Micki and her family. The obituary certainly conveyed the contributions that they made to making this a better world.

  • Jim Reber says:

    Thank you, Janie and Harry, for you generosity to me and your loving friendship over decades. You took me into your already full home when I was a teenager in need of a place to stay. I have never forgotten that welcome, and cherish it today. Fortunately, I was able to move on and through Midge and Mike, I was able to stay in touch and even to see you both in recent years. Your gentle warmth and love for life is an example for us all. I offer my sincerest condolences to the entire Van Dyke family. May their live embrace you all in the days ahead and may you all find peace in the memories of these wonderful lives.

  • Nelda Carroll-Allegar says:

    Janie and Harry Van Dyke were two of my best friends, and the most loving couple with the most wonderful family. All their offspring that I had occasion to know and love were the best children ever, so respectful of their parents and kind and gracious to all friends of Janie and Harry’s through the years. I have many fond memories of sharing a room with Janie in our ESA years and visiting the Selma home and being taken on area tours with the two. First horse race was in Grants Pass. Later they moved to Whidbey Island and me and my present husband visited. Janie still her vibrant self but by then Harry didn’t recognize me. I will never forget the Van Dykes and their loving manner and acceptance of me despite my flaws. You will be missed, Janie and Harry.

    Nelda Carroll-Allegar

  • Kimberly (Carroll) Watari says:

    I always liked Janie & Harry, too of course! Great friends of my mother, Nelda. The funny thing is that our friend Janie picked up on the same ghostly entity that I always knew existed in my grandmother’s house in Louisiana…

    God bless both of you! God bless your family and friends!

    Peace,

    Kim

  • Dana Smith says:

    Our Prayers and condolences go out to Claudia and her family. Although you will miss them, they will always be in your hearts.

    Blessings,
    Dana and Lorraine Smith

  • Laura (Carroll) Cook says:

    I am so blessed to have known both of them. The love they had for each other and for so many others was inspiring. They truly touched the lives of so many people. I will always cherish them and the time we spent together in Selma. Two of the sweetest people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. They will be missed.

    My sincerest condolences to the family and friends.

    Laura Cook

  • Kathy Kim says:

    I’m so lucky to have called Harry and Janie my Foster Parents. I learned so much from them. I saw how a real family loves and helps one another. I was glad when they moved to Oregon, as I lived her too. They came to my sons high school graduation. I love all the five kids too. They were very lucky to have such great parents.

    Rest in Peace
    love you both

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