Vincent Clare Van Velzer, 99, passed away quietly Saturday, February 20, 2021 in Overbrook Kansas. He was born April 9, 1921 in Los Angeles, California to Elsie and Francis Clare Van Velzer. Vincent’s loving wife Mary Louise pre-deceased him in April of 2017. He is survived by his sister Patricia, his sons Mike, Bill, and Paul, their wives Lynn, Karen, and Teddy, nephews Howard and Rob Heard, Howard’s wife Bonnie, nephew Vance Van Velzer, his wife Livia and two sons Eric and Craig, seven grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren.
Vincent grew up in Whittier, California. He graduated from Whittier High School in 1939, after which he enrolled in the Civilian Pilot Training Program during the early years of WWII flying WACO biplane trainers out of Prescott Arizona. Following graduation, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, serving aboard the B-29 “Miss Lead” as a radio operator. He flew three missions over Japan from the island of Tinian before the war ended in August 1945.
After the war, Vincent graduated from USC with his B.S. in Electrical Engineering and entered the rapidly growing aerospace field. He was an avid sailor in these early post-war years, sailing his homebuilt sailboat in the waters of Redondo Beach, Long Beach, and Pacific Palisades. His membership in the newly established Porsche Owners Club took him and his model 356 coupe to regular rallies throughout the southern California region as well as to Mexico. It was through this active social life that Vincent met Mary Karnes, whom he married in August of 1957.
Vincent’s aerospace work continued through the 1960s and 1970s as he, Mary and their three boys built the family’s beloved rural retreat at Old West Ranch in the Tehachapi Mountains. For more than three decades, Tehachapi was the center of the Van Velzers' steadily growing family. During this time, Vincent and Mary also came to share their mutual passion for aviation, which continued well past Vincent’s retirement from Boeing Aerospace in 1992.
Vincent re-located to the small town of Overbrook, Kansas following the passing of this wife, Mary. He was a respected and well-loved member of the Brookside Retirement Community and a favorite among its staff members. His passing leaves a sorrowful void in the lives of his family, who will miss his quick wit and intellect, sense of humor, and affable nature.
A memorial service to celebrate Vincent’s life will be held 9:00 a.m., Thursday, February 25, 2021 at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Leavenworth, Kansas. Those wishing to donate to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America may do so in care of Lamb- Roberts-Price Funeral Home, P.O. Box 268, Overbrook, KS 66524. Online condolences may be left for the family at www.lamb-roberts.com.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Vincent C. Van Velzer, please visit our floral store.
Stull United Methodist Church