Ervin was born November 3, 1915 in Verboort, the fourth of Bill and Alice VanDyke's eight children. He was born, lived, and died within sight of his home place. He could stand on the back porch of his current home and see everywhere he has lived.
Through his early adulthood, Dad played saxophone and trumpet in "The Nightingales" orchestra with his brothers and sisters. In 1951, he quit playing the music and began playing the field. He "robbed the cradle" by marrying Jane Bernards on November 11, 1953. They shared the same birthday, four children, and 37 years of marriage.
Ervin worked the family farm all his life with his brothers, farming the same land his father had before him. Dad worked hard, and worked hard at keeping us on the straight and narrow. ("If you're going to do something, do it well." "If you want a job done right, do it yourself." "A place for everything, and everything in its place.") Dad always did what he thought (KNEW) was right. He was strong willed and feisty, surviving a broken back, severe burns, open heart surgery and four earlier heart attacks.
He enjoyed a full life and worked at hobbies including beekeeping, winemaking, fishing, crabbing, hunting, and grafting fruit trees for family and friends. Dad had a thriving home orchard and garden. "Blackie" enjoyed playing cards with his duck-hunting buddies. His trip to Alaska last summer fulfilled a long-time dream.
Grandpa Ervin watched 11 granddaughters bloom and grow, and taught them some of life's most important lessons, such as "Bumblebee, bumblebee, ZIP" and where their "beekabock" is. No matter what the season was, as we'd leave, he would say, "See you next Spring!"
Though we will miss him terribly, he got a final wish early Monday evening when he went "out like a light" mid-stride while hunting with his son on a hillside overlooking his family's land. We wish you well, Papa, and thank you for all you have given us. ("If you would, please.")
I pray that I may hunt and fish
until my dying day.
And when my days are through at last,
then this I humbly pray:
When in Our Lord's great landing net,
and peacefully asleep,
that in His mercy, I'll be found,
BIG ENOUGH TO KEEP!
Ervin Van Dyke was born November 3, 1915, in the family home in Verboort, Oregon, the fourth of Bill and Alice Evers Van Dyke's eight children. He joined older siblings Julius (Juke), Irene, and Evelyn (Curly). He was followed by Cyril, Robert (Bud), Esther and Stanley.
The following contributions were submitted by son Kevin VanDyke - some comments refer to photos shown above.
William Van Dyke family at home, 1928 or 1929 Left to right: Ervin, Robert, Julius, Bill, Alice, Stanley and Esther (standing in front), Irene, Cyril, Evelyn
The Van Dyke family farmed over 400 acres in the Verboort area, raising peas, vetch, barley, oats, wheat, clover, and cherry and nut orchards. Commercial endeavors included cleaning grain, field dusting and after World War 2, spraying. The Van Dykes always had plenty of irons in the fire.
Harvest in the late 1920's or early 1930's with the 1220 Case. Juke driving, Ervin on binder, Grandpa Van Dyke "shocking" and probably Esther and Stanley sitting in field. They used to get 20-25 bushels of wheat per acre, compared to 130-140 per acre now.
Ervin said the Depression didn’t affect their family much, because they grew or made most anything they needed. They were a self-sufficient family. He did remember wearing a black belt that he got as a young boy that wrapped around him twice when he first got it. He wore it for years. Ervin remembered his childhood as being more work than play, but he did talk about playing marbles and roller-skating into Forest Grove with his buddies. Their roller-skates had wooden wheels that would wear down, so they’d tuck an extra set of wheels in their pocket so they could put a new set on for the way home. During his youth, he got the nickname, "Blackie," that stuck with him throughout his life.
The Van Dyke family was quite musical, playing various instruments and singing in the church choir. Through his early adulthood, Ervin played saxophone and trumpet in "The Nightingales" orchestra with his brothers and sisters. The Nightingales played for weddings and in community dance halls all around the area for many years.
Irene Van Dyke Moore, Evelyn Van Dyke Herb, Ted Higby, Juke Van Dyke, Ervin Van Dyke.
In 1951, Ervin quit playing the music and began playing the field. He "robbed the cradle" by marrying Jane Bernards on November 11,1953. They shared the same birthday and 37 years of marriage. Mom was 19 years younger thanErvin, and he always called her "baby."
Christmas 1960 Kevin, Bev, Ervin, Charlene. Together they raised four children:
Kevin Ervin (born 2-5-1955),
Charlene Jane (born 12-14-1956),
Beverly Ann (born 8-13-1959),
Jan Marie (born 2-10-1963).
Christmas 1967: Kevin, Charlene, Jan, Bev
Ervin farmed all his life, and he also did commercial spraying. Ervin worked hard, and worked hard at keeping us on the straight and narrow. ("If you're going to do something, do it well." "If you want a job done right, do it yourself." "A place for everything, and everything in its place.") Ervin always did what he thought (KNEW) was right. He had very high standards and great integrity. He expected us to always do our best.
In 1975, he had open heart bypass surgery at St. Vincent Hospital in Portland. That began the era of Ervin as a heart patient. His recovery was as difficult for us as it was for him. Ervin needed to slow down and relax; if the heart attack didn’t kill him, the recovery surely would! But survive he did… for fifteen more years and through his first four heart attacks. (His fifth and final heart attack was November 26, 1990.)
Grandpa Ervin watched eleven granddaughters bloom and grow. Jenny VanderZanden was the first granddaughter born, May 13, 1978. They followed in rapid succession and included:
Jenny, Janel and Jill VanderZanden (Charlene and Herb);
Breeann, Aimee, Cayla and Darcie Van Dyke (Kevin and Donna);
Laura and Katelyn Schalk (Bev and Dave); and
Krista and Megan Foltz (Jan and Steve).
After Grandpa died, Ryan and Elise Schalk joined the ranks of grandchildren.
October '90: At Grandma and Grandpa's house.
Front: Aimee, Breeann holding Darcie, Grandma with Cayla and Katie, Grandpa, Laura.
Back: Janel, Krista, Jill holding Megan, Jenny.
Grandpa Ervin taught them some of life's most important lessons, such as "Bumblebee bumblebee, ZIP" and where your "beekabock" is. (Both have to do with your belly!) They, in turn, taught him fun things about being a kid. He thought they were all pretty "REE-markable." Whenever anyone would leave, whatever the season, he'd say, "See you next Spring!"
By now Papa had mellowed some with age. He always had produce from the garden to send home with us and sticks for us to pick up after pruning the trees. He still enjoyed hunting, fishing, crabbing and digging clams. When hunting, he'd sit on a stand and let the youngsters chase the elk to him. "Blackie" also enjoyed playing cards with his duck-hunting buddies.
As long as we were all good kids, he put up with quite a bit of nonsense from us in his later years. We painted his toenails, pulled him around by his overall straps and combed his hair pretty. He was the proud chauffeur for the "Kissin Kuzzins" prize-winning float in the Gay 90's parade in Forest Grove in 1990. We decorated his pickup and the participants with pink and red contact paper "kisses" and piled the grandkids in the back.
Ervin was born, lived his entire life and died within a few miles of his home place and lies at rest in Visitation Cemetery, where his parents, grandparents, and great grandparents are buried. Ervin lived a full and productive life. He lived to see his children grown and most of his grandchildren born. We can only hope we were good students and learned the many lessons he taught us by his example.
He said, "It's sure hell to get old" and always wanted to "go out like a light." Papa did nap in his chair and watch TV in his later years ("Wheel of Fortune" was a favorite), but he also found time to graft trees and putter in the garden ("Oh hell, baby, that's not puttering, that's work!") He fulfilled a lifelong dream by going to Alaska in 1989 with Uncle Bud, and he continued to enjoy hunting and fishing.
He got a final wish when he went mid-stride while deer hunting with Kevin on Monday, November 26, 1990, on land above Kevin's home in Gales Creek. It was a massive heart attack, and Ervin went quickly, with his boots on. Ervin always said he wanted to go while hunting, with just enough warning to lay his rifle down carefully. He didn't get that warning. He fell on top of the rifle, breaking it.
We are thankful for all he gave us, and we wish him well. ("If you would, please.")
Ervin’s funeral was held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, December 1, 1990, in Visitation Catholic Church. About 500 people attended. The pews were all full, the choir was full, the back of church was full of people standing, and people were standing along the sides! We should all wish to be so lucky: Live a full, productive life, enjoy good health and when it comes time to die, go quickly, while doing what you love. And to have lived your life in such a manner that 500 people thought enough of you to come to your funeral. So long. Rest peacefully. ›
Thank you for contributions by son, Kevin VanDyke