Clyde Thomas Van Arsdale

Clyde Thomas Van Arsdale
Clyde Thomas Van Arsdale

Clyde Thomas Van Arsdale passed away on February 13, 2014 at the age of 93 at his home in Tonasket, Washington. He was born in North Palmyra Township, Illinois 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 with riding horse, swimming in the creek, hunting and fishing. He said by age three 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 age 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 and especially when 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 parents and 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 ten 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 living with him in Oregon. Clyde worked for the Forest Service in 1961 through 1963 working trails in the Wallowa High Lakes on horseback. While in Oregon he spent many a day and night fighting forest fires. He had been a fireman for the ordinance depot outside Hermiston, Ore. for a while 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. During the time in Woodburn he also managed two gas stations, which kept his sons Kevin and Chris busy working during their teen years. He also invested in a mobile truck washer, which he set up at the 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. Daughter Connie was there to help him, and took great care of her mother before she passed away in 1991.

Clyde spent the next years living in his trailer home 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. including 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 3002 and the National Rifle Association.

Clyde was proceeded in death by his parents and siblings: Paul, Opal, Ola, Roy, Dick, Toot and their spouses and baby Eileen that died shortly after birth. He is survived by his wife Julie Pratt and his three stepchildren, Del, Anna, and Tracy Everano, and his children: Dan (Gloria), Sherry (Ron Bates), Gary (Joyce), Kevin Best (Kathy), Chris Best (Kathy) and Connie Wohlcke (Van). Grandchildren: Traci McVicker (D.R.), Tanya Esparza (Arnold), Todd Van Arsdale (Sammee), Toya Kion, Debbie Finkbeiner (Ron), Dan Bates (Nancy), Trevor Van Arsdale (Wendy), Crystal Best, Tommy Best, Amber Anderson (Bill) Kasie Wardinger (Sam), Kristen Best, Ronnie Moore, Anthony Moore, Kristina Moore. Clyde had 24 great grandchildren, four great-great grandchildren, six 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 fantastic sense of humor. Everyone who knew him had heard at least one unfinished story due to uncontrollable and heartfelt 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 that donations be made to the Eagles Heart Fund, Tonasket.

Join his family and friends as we celebrate his life on earth and now his heavenly home with those who went before. It will be held at the Eagles in Tonasket, Washington at 2 p.m., Monday, February 24, 2014.