At the age of 93, Clyde Van Arsdale passed away Feb. 13, 2014, in his Tonasket, Wash., home.
He was born in North Palmyra Township, Ill., on June 17, 1920, to Tom and Lizzie Van Arsdale. He grew up on a farm near Eagle Grove, Iowa, the youngest of nine siblings. He was always busy riding horses, swimming in the creek, hunting and fishing. He said by age 3, he was already a cowboy and had his own horse.
He liked school but after being thrown by a spooked horse, he had health problems that caused him to leave school by the age of 12. Clyde remained a student for the remainder of his life.
His continued education was the result of his reading and his genuine interest in everyone and everything. At 17, he took off for Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming, working as a cowboy on cattle ranches for a couple years. He also enjoyed working for his brother Dick over the years, especially breaking horses and working on ranches.
After his father died in 1944, his mother often lived with him until her death in 1970. He was very close to his family.
He married Ruth Wells in 1940 and together they raised three children; Danny, Sherry and Gary. They lived in Oregon for a few years and then moved to Fort Dodge, Iowa, where for the last 10 years of their marriage Clyde worked as a concrete batcher for Whelps and McCarten.
He moved back to Oregon in 1960 and in 1961, he married Marge (Potter) Best and together they raised three children, Kevin and Chris Best and Connie Van Arsdale.
Daughter Sherry and son Gary spent their last year of high school with him in Oregon. Clyde worked for the Forest Service from 1961-63, working trails in the Wallowa High Lakes on horseback. While in Oregon, he spent many days and nights fighting forest fires. He had been a fireman for the ordnance depot outside Hermiston, Ore., in the early 1940s, but most of the fires he fought were in the mountains.
Clyde and family moved many times in Oregon spending time in Lostine, Wallowa, Woodburn, Hubbard, Burns, Fossil and Hermiston. He worked for McBreen Trucking in Tigard as a truck driver but soon was made the operation manager. While in Woodburn, he also managed two gas stations, which kept his sons Kevin and Chris busy in their teen years. He also invested in a mobile truck washer, which he set up at Burns Truck Stop in Wilsonville, Ore. Due to health problems he retired and moved to Fossil for a few years. They moved to Hermiston and Clyde was caregiver to his wife Marge, who suffered from emphysema. Marge passed away in 1991.
Clyde spent the next years living in his trailer at his son Gary’s home in West Richland, Wash., and then in Tonasket on son Dan’s property.
In 2006, he moved to Hermiston for two years before returning to marry his dear friend Julie Pratt. He loved the people and town of Tonasket and spent many hours entertaining friends and family with his story of a life full of joy and excitement.
Clyde had many hobbies over the years, including working with horses, breeding dogs, grooming a beautiful landscaped yard in Hubbard, Ore., his bonsai collection, and most important, his lifelong love of hunting and fishing, which was especially enjoyed when shared with his sons.
Clyde was a member of Oregon Teamsters Local 81, Sons of the American Legion, Squad 82, Tonasket Eagles Aerie No. 3002 and National Rifle Association.
Clyde was preceded in death by his parents and siblings, Paul, Opal, Ola, Roy, Dick, Toot and their spouses; and baby Eileen who died shortly after birth.
He is survived by his wife, Julie, his children, Dan (Gloria), Sherry (Ron Bates), Gary (Joyce), Kevin Best (Kathy), Chris Best (Kathy) and Connie (Van) Wohlcke; and his three step-children, Del, Anna and Tracy Everano; grandchildren, Traci (D.R.) McVicker Tanya (Arnold) Esparza, Todd (Sammee) Van Arsdale, Toya Kion, Debbie (Ron) Finkbeiner, Dan (Nancy) Bates, Trevor (Wendy) Van Arsdale, Crystal Best, Tommy Best, Amber (Bill) Anderson Kasie (Sam) Wardinger, Kristen Best, Ronnie Moore, Anthony Moore, Kristina Moore. Clyde had 24 great-grandchildren, 4 great-great grandchildren, 6 step-grandchildren and many nephews and nieces.
Clyde lived a fantastic life and most of it was because of his love of life, an optimistic attitude and a sense of humor.
Everyone who knew him had heard at least one unfinished story due to uncontrollable and heart-felt laughter.
The family would like to thank Clyde’s friends, Dr. Stangland, Frontier Home Health and Hospice and family members for their excellent care allowing Clyde to remain at home.
Instead of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Eagles Heart Fund, Tonasket. Join family and friends as we celebrate his life on earth and now his heavenly home with those who went before at the Eagles in Tonasket, Wash., at 2 p.m. Monday, Feb. 24, 2014.