This obituary was published in The Goldendale Sentinel on May 15, 2008.
Barbara June Van De Vanter Larsen
Barbara June Van De Vanter Larsen passed away at her home on Main Street in Goldendale on May 8, 2008. Her husband and children surrounded her as she went to rest with God, joining her sister Mary Lee at Heaven’s Bingo table and reuniting with her parents Darrell Van De Vanter, Freeda Van De Vanter Jacroux and Alfred Jacroux.
She was born May 4, 1937, in the same home and lived there for most of her life. Attending Goldendale schools, “Bobbie June” as her friends knew her, was a majorette, yell leader and played in the band. Her loyalty to the Purple and Gold was very evident as she cheered her children and grandchildren on to victory in various sports over the years.
She married Ron Larsen in 1971 and from that union Rhonda joined siblings Van, Dara, Jodi and Jana, who came from her first marriage to Al Greenfield.
Barb enjoyed playing Bingo, playing cards and doing many other things with her sister Mary Lee Marvel. The two were affectionately known as “The Blister Sisters” to many of their friends and family. The two ladies could often be seen with family and friends singing and dancing to the polka song, “Just Because.’ As little girls, their father, Darrell, would sing “Just Because” and twirl them around the room when he arrived home from work. That song will always be a family tradition and we will forever have the memory of mom’s smile and joy as she clapped and sang.
Mom enjoyed many years of league bowling and took up golf in the 1970’s.
She was a regular at ladie’s golf on Thursdays, winning the Net Club Championship in 1988. She and Ron introduced the kids to golf and most of them enjoy the game today. Her competitive nature was evident even in her game playing with the kids and grandkids. “Grandma June” will always be known for her way of saying “Sorry” when she knocked your game piece off the board. “Nintendo Grandma” was another facet of her life as she and grandson Brad spent countless hours on the virtual fairway. It took Brad a couple years, but he finally started beating her.
Many locals remember Barb for giving them swimming lessons at the World War II Memorial Pool that her father was instrumental in building.
Barb worked for Janzen in Portland, and as a bartender at the Oasis, Simcoe and the American Legion in Goldendale.
Most of her years were spent caring for the children and Ron, and taking care of their home.
Barb loved the water and spent many summer days taking the kids to Maryhill Park. Knitting was another hobby as she made all of the kids, their spouses and grandkids Christmas socks and provided countless baby sweaters over the years. She enjoyed a few trips to Reno with Mary Lee and since Ron’s retirement enjoyed an occasional trip to the Legends in Toppenish. Being a member of the Legion Auxiliary was important to Barb and she loved her extended Legion family. In recent years, she had the job of keeping the Holcomb’s Sentry crew in line and looked forward to her grocery trips. Barb never met a stranger and was a good friend to so many people.
Survivors include her husband of 36 years, Ron Larsen of Goldendale, children, Van and Carol Greenfield of Kuna, Idaho, Dara and Danny Eastham of Camas, Jodi and Larry Bellamy of Goldendale, Jana Greenfield and Denise Stearns of Dallesport, and Rhonda and Donn Bash of Vancouver; and brother-in-law Bob Larsen of Vancouver. Her pride and joy grandchildren are Shelby, Amanda, Bradley, Carley Jo, Jamie, Kylee, Jessie, Madison, Lilly, Stacie and Sarah. Rhonda’s kids, Madison and Lilly, have been a special joy, having inherited some of their Grandpa Ronnie’s mannerisms bringing mom laughter on many occasions.
Graveside services were held May 13, with interment in Goldendale. Memorial contributions can be sent to the Ladies of the American Legion Auxiliary or Hospice of Goldendale. Columbia Hills Memorial Chapel handled arrangements.