Robert E. (Bob) Van Hoesen passed away June 27, 2015 at his home in Lakeland, FL, after a diagnosis of liver cancer one week earlier. He was born Sept. 23, 1927 in Newark, NY to George and Irene Van Hoesen (nee Badger). Bob was predeceased by his parents, wife Mildred (Millie) Dey, brother George, sister Helen Doolin, and aunt Katharine Van Hoesen Wolgast.
Bob spent his first years to age 14 on the family farm until it sold. He was happy to leave the farm because he wanted to play sports in high school, especially baseball.
He graduated in 1945 and immediately joined the Navy where his main duty was to play ball. He was honorably discharged in 1948, and returned home to marry his high school sweetheart and attend RBI in Rochester, NY
During his two years there, he and Millie had a daughter, Diane Irene. After his graduation from RBI, he went to work for Montgomery Ward in Newark, NY. During this time they welcomed a daughter, Kay Alice.
Bob was transferred to the Montgomery Ward store in Potsdam, NY, as assistant manager. While there, he became close friends with Bud Hatch, an engineer who worked for Niagara Mohawk. Bud talked Bob into interviewing for a job with NiMo in Syracuse. Bob was hired in 1952 and moved to Syracuse. After six years, he transferred to Albany, and they welcomed another daughter, Mary Ellen.
A year later, Millie suddenly passed away at home. Bob was left with three young daughters ages 9, 7 and 13 months. In those days, single fatherhood was unusual. Family members offered to take the girls, but Bob insisted he would keep his family together. Six months later, Bob transferred back to Syracuse to be closer to family. He bought a house in Liverpool and made a home for his girls. For seven years, Bob raised his daughters alone, always came home every night after work, never brought women home, and by example, ingrained in his daughters responsibility, integrity and honor. Every night at bedtime, he prayed with his daughters at their bedsides, tucked them in and always kissed them goodnight.
Bob retired from Niagara Mohawk in 1985 and in 1994 Bob and Dottie made Lakeland, FL their permanent home.
Bob is survived by his wife Dottie, brother Paul of Dayton, OH; daughters, Diane Van Hoesen of Red Creek, NY; Kay Van Hoesen of Myrtle Beach, SC; and Mary Ellen Johnson (Marty) of Liverpool, NY; three grandchildren, six great-grand children; one great-great grandchild; several nieces, nephews and cousins as well as his beloved dog Gypsy, and beloved cats, Brucie and Lucy.
Services will be a Mass at Saint Joseph’s Catholic church, 210 W. Lemon Street, Lakeland on Friday, July 3 at 1 pm. Burial will be at a future date in the Veterans Cemetery at Bushnell.
We’d love for you to attend the upcoming Celebration of Life in Bob’s honor in the Syracuse area on August 2nd, 2015, 12 noon to 4 pm. Lunch will be served. It will be at the Liverpool Elks Club, 3730 Cold Springs Rd, Baldwinsville, NY 13027. Click HERE for Map.
Please sign the guest book and share your comments and memories.
Memorials may be sent to SPCA Florida, 5850 Brannen Road S., Lakeland FL 33813