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VAN VLEET – Richard Kenneth Van Vleet, 90, of Tyrone, passed away Sunday, May 11, 2008, at Gila Regional Medical Center. He was born Aug. 7, 1917, on a wheat farm near Pretty Prairie, Kan., to Ora and Velma Van Vleet. Mr. Van Vleet is survived by his current wife, Barbara; one son, Loy of Edwards, Colo.; one daughter, Alice Bair of Las Vegas, Nev.; two granddaughters; two grandsons; and seven great-grandchildren.
He graduated from Langdon High School in 1936 and attended McPherson College for three years. He worked for Boeing Airplane Co. in Wichita, Kan., for four and a half years. He moved his family to Springer, N.M., where he worked on a dude ranch and in construction near Philmont Boy Scout Camp.
Mr. Van Vleet was employed as a machinist by the Los Alamos National Lab in 1945. He lived there until his retirement 35 years later. He volunteered as an auxiliary policeman and served as a municipal judge for 17 years in Los Alamos. He officiated sports for 38 years and was inducted into the New Mexico High School Officials Association in 1988. He was a charter member of Pajarito Masonic Lodge No. 66 in Los Alamos and a member of Santa Rita Lodge No. 44. He served as worshipful master in both lodges. Mr. Van Vleet was worthy patron of the New Mexico Grand Chapter in 1960-61 for the “Round the World” session.
In 1982, Mr. Van Vleet left Los Alamos to make his home in Tyrone. He was active in the Tyrone Volunteer Fire Department for many years. The folks in and around Tyrone will remember him as “The Judge.”
Donations may be made to the Tyrone Volunteer Fire Department, 101 Turquoise, Tyrone, N.M. 88065. Bright Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. A memorial service is to be conducted by the Pajarito Masonic Lodge, Los Alamos, June 9, 2008 with details to be announced closer to that date.