December 23, 2012
10:00 A.M. Thursday, December 27, 2012
Otley Reformed Church
Starting at Noon Wednesday, December 26, 2012
at the Pella Garden Chapel Funeral Home
with family present 6:00 – 8:00 P.M.
Hospice of Pella
Otley Reformed Church
January 1, 1957 - December 23, 2012
On January 1, 1957, Douglas Gene Van Haaften was born, six weeks before his expected due date, to Marion and Marjorie Van Haaften in Oskaloosa, Iowa. It was said he was small enough to fit in a shoe box. Doug passed away Sunday evening, December 23, 2012, at the Hospice of Pella Comfort House after a long battle with lung cancer which had spread to his bones, just nine days short of his fifty-sixth birthday,
Doug was raised in Otley, Iowa, where he received his early education at the Otley Elementary School and graduated from Pella Community High School with the class of 1975. One of his earliest childhood memories was that of being at his grandparents' house on Sunday afternoon and, while supposedly taking a nap, he would hear "The Old Rugged Cross" playing on the radio. That was a song that became one of Doug's favorite hymns.
It was a beautiful fall day on October 20, 1979, when he was united in marriage with Patricia Anne Willemsen at the Church of the Open Bible in Pella. They had three amazing children: Kathryn Jo, Nathaniel James, and Madelyn Jo.
Doug started working at a young age with a paper route and later had several places of employment: Marion County Park Services and auto body repair at Ulrich Motors and Breen and Bloodsworth, just to name a few. He was also part owner of his own business in Otley, Van Haaften Racing, Inc. He was last employed at EMC Insurance Company where he was a senior physical damage fire investigator/heavy equipment fire inspector.
Nothing gave Doug more joy than working with his son, brothers, and dad rebuilding cars. It would give him a great sense of accomplishment and pride. Later they all worked on their own sprint car. Racing was always a big part of his life. That started when he was young while watching his dad and friends having fun on go-karts. He was soon participating in soap box derby races, go-kart racing, and kage cart racing in Newton. He then made a deal to get a sprint car. After it sat in the garage five years, he and son Nate and his brothers finally put it together and started racing Saturday nights at the Knoxville Raceway, with Doug the owner and Nate the driver. This was truly a family affair with Doug, his brothers, other family, and friends being the pit crew. After racing hard, there would be a weekly celebration at Doug's race shop, which he built himself.
In Doug's spare time he loved working in the yard, especially creating his pond. The never ending project was beautiful and a source of relaxation for him. Many hours were spent sitting around it with friends, family, and his dog Sherman.
Doug is survived by: his wife, Patty; his three children: Kate (Spencer) Van Haaften of Des Moines, Nate Van Haaften of Otley, and Madi (Logan) Van Zante of Pella; his parents, Marion and Marjorie Van Haaften of Otley; granddaughter, Brynley Rose Van Haaften; brothers: Mark (Marge) Van Haaften of Otley, Kevin (Patty) Van Haaften of Otley, Scott (Lisa) Van Haaften of Waukee; sisters: Mary Lynn (Glen) Beyer of Otley and Diana (Steve) Van Donselaar of Otley; many other relatives; his dogs, Sherman and The Brainless One Baby.
He was preceded in death by an infant sister Karla Sue and his grandparents.
Doug was a wonderful father. Kate, Nate, and Madi were raised with unconditional love from him. He instilled in them all a sense of humor, respect for all, and a strong work ethic. He was so proud of each of them. Granddaughter Brynley Rose, made him feel like a kid again and could always put a smile on his face or made him laugh out loud.
Remember Doug for his kindness and fairness to all he knew, helping anyone who asked, his positive attitude and drive, all the fantastically fun times in his race shop with family and friends. These memories will be cherished forever. Doug's faith in the Lord was always strong. He wants you all to know he is at peace with no pain or cancer in his heavenly home.