Kenneth V. Van Dyke
August 30th, 1924 - July 22nd, 2017
Kenneth V. Van Dyke, age 92, of Florence, went home to be with the Lord on July 22, 2017. Visitation will be Thursday, July 27, from 10:00 – 11:00 a.m. at Spry-Williams Funeral Home. The funeral will follow at 11:00 a.m. in the funeral home chapel with Perry D. Taylor, Minister, Stutts Road Church of Christ officiating.. Burial will be at Tri Cities Memorial Gardens.
Kenneth met and married the love of his life, Careen L. Gautney, October 9, 1945, in Rogersville, AL. She preceded him in death on September 26, 2001. Also preceding him in death were his parents and his brother, Melvin R. Van Dyke, also a bomber pilot in WW2 (listed as missing in action, June 1943).
Kenneth was born August 30, 1924, in Minneapolis, Minnesota to Elmer V. and Alma T. (Sell) Van Dyke. Kenneth developed an interest in aviation at an early age. World War 2 provided him an opportunity to realize his dream of becoming a pilot. He enlisted in the Army Air Force in March, 1943. He completed aviation school, and was appointed 2nd Lieutenant in December, 1944. He was assigned to pilot the B-17 (Flying Fortress) Heavy Bomber. Following the war he continued his AAF career, developing an interest in a new type of aircraft, the helicopter. He completed his training and in December, 1954 and was assigned as a helicopter pilot flying H-19 and H-13 aircraft. He was deployed to Korea during the Korean War and flew ground troop supply and evacuation support missions. He retired from the Air Force in November, 1964.
Upon retirement from the Air Force the Van Dyke family relocated to Florence, AL. Kenneth had a keen interest in electronics and became a Certified Electronics Instructor. He taught electronics at Muscle Shoals Technical College until his retirement in December, 1985. Following retirement Kenneth and Careen traveled extensively in their RV, visiting all but a few of the United States.
Kenneth is survived by his son Colonel (ret.) Melvin R. Van Dyke (Cathy), Granddaughters Dr. Melissa Kesler (Andrew), Rachel Steyer (Andrew), Grandson Matthew Van Dyke (Ashley), Great Granddaughters Kate and Meredith Kesler and numerous loving nieces and nephews.
The family extends their deep appreciation and gratitude to the doctors and staff at Glenwood Nursing Home and Eliza Coffee Memorial Hospital. Family and friends will be received an hour before the service.
Service at 11:00 AM at Spry~Williams Funeral Home on Thursday, July 27th, 2017
Tri-Cities Memorial Gardens
2601 Florence Blvd, Florence, Alabama