Irvin Dale “Irv” Van Haaften went to dwell in the House of the Lord on Monday, June 23, 2014 at the Muse-Norris Hospice House in Mason City, surrounded by his family. A gathering of friends was held at the Zion Lutheran Church in Clear Lake, on June 26, 2014. The celebration of his life followed on Saturday morning at the church. The Anderson Funeral Homes in Marshalltown, Iowa, was entrusted with the arrangements. Online condolences may be sent to www.andersonfhs.com.
Irv was born on April 30, 1939, the only child of Henry and Elizabeth (De Goey) Van Haaften. Prairie City, Iowa, was his hometown and where he attended school, graduating with the Class of 1957. He continued his education at Central College in Pella, Iowa, graduating with a Bachelors Degree in mathematics in 1961. His first teaching job was in Eddyville, Iowa, where he taught junior high math and coached girl’s softball and girl’s track. From 1963-1965 he served with the Peace Corps teaching math at the Normal School in Malaybalay, Bukidinon, on the island of Mindanao in the Philippines. In the fall of 1966 he accepted the high school math position at Garwin, Iowa, later GMG, where he spent the next 31 years. He studied and received his Masters Degree at the University of Northern Iowa during those years. Teaching was his gift. In 1973 the Iowa Academy of Science awarded him the Excellence in the Teaching of Mathematics Award. Carpentry, a skill learned from his carpenter father, was his second career. Summers were spent doing a variety of carpentry work in the Garwin area.
On May 25, 1974 he was united in marriage to Debby Staker. They were blessed with two sons, Ryan Marc, in 1976, and Kyle Lane, in 1978. He enjoyed his community. He was active in the Garwin United Methodist Church, serving on the Board of Trustees for many years, held offices in the Garwin Lions Club, helped in the formation of the Garwin Ambulance Service and volunteered with the Local Boy Scouts. In 2005 Irv and Deb moved to Clear Lake, to a house on the lake built by Irv, his sons, and many friends. There he established his church home at Zion Lutheran, became a Clear Lake Lions sports fan, and was employed at Thrifty White Pharmacy doing their home deliveries until his health declined.
Left to cherish his memory are Debby, his wife of 40 years; sons, Ryan (Tisha) Van Haaften, of Minneapolis, Minn., and Kyle Van Haaften, of Urbandale, Iowa; in-laws, Robert and Dinny Nielsen; nephews, Michael (Sue) Nielsen and Matthew Nielsen; and niece, Melissa (Jason) Goldson; and nine great-nieces and nephews; and many cousins and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his parents-in law, LaVern and Blanche Staker.
Irv was a man with a kind and gentle spirit-known for his smile. His faith, his family and his friends were the priorities in his life. He enjoyed sports of all kinds, fishing, carpentry, puzzles, and problem solving. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be directed to the GMG School Foundation, the Muse Norris Hospice House in Mason City, or a charity of your choice.