George A. Van Hook, 74, passed away at his home in Ontario, Ind. on Friday, Nov. 18, 2011. Born on April 26, 1937, in Portland Mills, George was welcomed into the family of Bradford and Eloise Smiley Van Hook by his 2-year-old sister, Rosalyn.
George graduated from Greene Township High School in Parke County, Indiana, in 1955 where he excelled academically and on the basketball court. A natural athlete, he loved competition in other sports as well.
Growing up in a rural community, he learned farming at a young age and developed a life-long love of tractors of all kinds. Following graduation, George began an apprenticeship at R.R. Donnelley and Sons in Crawfordsville, where he learned the printing and bookbinding business.
In 1959, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force Cadet Program. That same year, he and Virginia Leonard were married and spent the next 2.5 years at Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, S.D., where he remained on flying status aboard B-52 bombers during the Cold War. After completing his military service, George and his wife returned to Crawfordsville where he continued his apprenticeship at R.R. Donnelley and Sons.
In 1963, he transferred to the Donnelley plant in Willard, Ohio, as a manufacturing supervisor, where he and Virginia raised their four children. Retiring in 1992, they moved to the Mansfield area where he enjoyed collecting and restoring antique tractors and was an active member of the Buckeye Iron Will Antique Tractor Club. After moving to Richland County, George also worked for 10 years maintaining the grounds and buildings at Dayspring, the Richland County Home. An avid outdoorsman, George enjoyed traveling, big game hunting, camping with his family, and gardening.
George is survived by his wife of 52 years; three daughters, Vonda (Steve) Kennedy of Louisiana, Kathi Van Hook of Florida and Diana (Mike) Steinmetz of Wisconsin; one son, Brad of Ohio; 10 grandchildren; and one great-grandson. He is also survived by his sister, Rosalyn Sodora, several nieces and nephews and other family members.
He was preceded in death by his parents and grandparents.
The Van Hook family will receive friends at the Ontario Home of Wappner Funeral Directors, 100 S. Lexington-Springmill Rd. from 4-7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 22. Additional visitation will be from 10-11 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 23, at Crossroads Community Church, 1188 Park Avenue West. A memorial service celebrating the life of George Van Hook will follow immediately with Pastor Ron Biddle presiding.
In Waveland, calling hours will be on Friday, Nov. 25 from 10 a.m. to noon at Machledt and Servies Funeral Home, 301 E. Green St., with funeral services officiated by Rev. John Kessinger immediately following. Burial will be in Portland Mills Cemetery. If desired, memorial contributions may be made to MedCentral Hospice or Crossroads Community Church.