On Wednesday, Jan. 30 H.G. “Van” Van Wagner, passed away peacefully in his home at the age of 76.
Van was born to Egbert and Margaret (Boettiger) Van Wagner on Tuesday, Sept. 8, 1942 in West Caldwell, N.J., where he grew up with his parents and sister. Van attended Fairleigh Dickinson University for a short time, before enlisting in the United States Army. After enlisting, Van married his high school sweetheart and sister of his best friend, Janet Meyer in 1964. Van served as an MP during the Vietnam War. When he returned, he eventually became an officer of the Belvidere Police force and he and Janet raised their two daughters, Jan and Carla in Buttzville, N.J. After retiring from the force, he and his family moved to Wyoming in 1993, where Van was able to enjoy the great outdoors, be surrounded by the family and animals he loved, and watch his grandchildren grow up.
Over his life Van wore many hats; son, brother, devoted husband, loving father, grandfather, friend, police officer, band member, and so many more. Many remember Van for his hard work and dedication as a police officer. He was fair, considerate, and always helpful to others. Others remember him for his incredible talent as a musician and singer when he played and sang with his cover bands “Sunny” in New Jersey and “Wildlife” in Wyoming. Van was also known for his love of animals, great and small, and was never without a German Shepard by his side from the time he was a boy until his passing. Van had a very strong spirit and was a firm believer in “Where there is a will there is a way”; which he proved to his friends and family time and time again. But most remember Van for his friendliness and his humor. It has been said more than once that Van could find someone to talk to in the middle of the desert. He would never pass up a good conversation over a cup of coffee.
Van was preceded in death by his father, Egbert; mother, Margaret; and sister, Jan.
He is survived by his wife, Janet; two daughters Jan (Joe) Schmitzer and Carla (Chuck) Stephens; grandchildren, Matthew Shoemaker, Ariel Schmitzer, Evan (Kassi) Schmitzer, Craig Stephens, and Curt Stephens; nieces and nephews, Brad and Tim Vath, Billy and Helena Meyer, Paul, Sarah and Eric Swider, and Dylan and Rachel Meyer, as well as their families.
No services are planned at this time.
The family has requested that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to any of the following charities: your Local SPCA, the Humane Society, the Wounded Warrior Project, or your local PBA in his name.
The Gorman Funeral Homes – Platte Chapel of Wheatland are in charge of the arrangements.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.gormanfh.com