Lewis Edward "Eddie" Van Dyke [August 27, 1939 - July 12, 2022]
L.E. "Eddie" Van Dyke, beloved husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and devoted friend, was called from his earthly home of 82 years to be with his heavenly Father on July 12, 2022.
Eddie, the son of George James "Jim" Van Dyke and Nelda [Hicks] Van Dyke, was born at home on August 27, 1939, in Tahoka, Texas. Following moves to Odessa and McAllen, the Van Dyke family settled in San Antonio. It was there that Eddie's gift of natural athletic ability became evident to his family and his coaches. This innate ability was demonstrated consistently as a young boy and all through high school and college as he excelled in both baseball and football. He began his athletic career playing Little League as a pitcher, winning many awards. At 14 years old Eddie was playing in the Pony League. He helped his team win the State Championship in Texas, going on to the regional finals in Florida, and then on to the Pony League World Series in Pennsylvania.
Pursuing his love of athletics, Eddie also played football at Edison High School in San Antonio, winning city, district, and state awards. He was named First Team All-State and was presented the city's two major awards given to high school football players - the M.L. "Hap" Missingill Memorial Award for the most outstanding San Antonio player and the Thom McAn trophy for the most valuable player by the San Antonio Light newspaper. With these accomplishments under his belt, Eddie was leaning toward a professional career in coaching as he entered Texas A&M University on a football scholarship. However, once at TAMU his career plans turned another direction. As Eddie recounted in a Brenham Banner Press "People Profile" article written about him and the interesting history of his insurance firm, Van Dyke-Rankin and Associates, it was at A&M that the seeds were planted for him to raise both a loving family and cultivate a successful business in Brenham, Texas. At Texas A&M, one of his friends was a "Brenham boy" who often invited Eddie to go home with him for weekend visits. Eddie's roommate introduced him to a "Brenham girl" named Sally Stuckert at a dance at the Prairie Hill dance hall. Sally became the "love of Eddie's life" and eventually his beloved wife of nearly 58 years. They were married at First Baptist Church in Brenham on August 22, 1964.
While in college Eddie worked toward a business administration degree, minoring in insurance. After graduation from Texas A&M in 1963 as a Distinguished Student, Eddie went to work for American General Insurance Company in Houston and San Antonio as a Field Representative assisting independent insurance agents. After Sally and Eddie were married, the friendships and relationships Eddie had forged with the agents he served opened the door to an opportunity to buy an insurance agency in Brenham in 1966. With a plan to grow his business in mind, other acquisitions and mergers occurred over the next several years. In1982 when Eddie's firm merged with Brenham Insurance Agency (Bob Rankin), it became Van Dyke-Rankin & Co. In his "Profile" article Eddie said, "We built this agency on the good reputations of some good names.... A good reputation is an important ingredient for any successful business."
As Eddie grew his successful business, his reputation for meaningful involvement and sharing of his time and expertise in other business and community organizations expanded too. He was active in the National Alliance Board of Governors, earning the rank of Certified Insurance Counselor. He devoted time and expertise serving on the Sam Houston State University College of Business Advisory Council, the Blinn College Foundation Board, the Brenham Economic Development Council (30 year member, serving two terms as President), the Brenham Industrial Foundation (serving as President for 5 years), the Washington County Chamber of Commerce (Director), Brenham Maifest Association (Director), ABC Association ( Aggie Buddy Classic Founding member), the Washington County Little League (coach of the Red Sox team for 18 years, taking his team of 11-12 year olds to a State Championship and coming within one win to qualify for the World Series); the Texas A&M University Letterman Association (Director), and was a Founding and Lifetime member of the TAMU Lettermen's Association, serving as President for two years). He was also a member of the local Rotary Club, the Jaycees, and the Elks Lodge. Eddie truly had a drive to be part of organizations and activities where he could make a difference. However, his greatest story of time, energy, and unbounded enthusiasm was clearly most evident in the lives of his children, Heather and Jarvis. As Heather excelled in running track individually and as a member of the Brenham ISD 1600-meter relay state champion team, Eddie was ever-present to provide exuberant support at every one of Heather's track meets and her state and national award ceremonies for both Brenham ISD and Baylor University track events. Eddie literally leapt for joy as Heather raced across the finish line and became the Southwest Conference Women's Champion in the 800m Outdoor Championship in May of 1991.
With equal time, energy, and enthusiasm, Eddie encouraged the athletic skill and trophy-winning success Jarvis displayed early on as he pursued the sport of Karate in competitions across Texas. The skills developed and achievements earned in Karate lead father and son to determine that Jarvis could find similar success playing football as a kicker. Eddie never missed a game or an opportunity to cheer, as Jarvis set football kicking records at the time for both Brenham ISD and Baylor University (1992-1995.)
Of course, with the great delight of a grandfather, Eddie continued his active attendance at athletic and other special events, for as long as he was able, along with keen support and advice for his grandchildren in all of their interests and activities.
Eddie was preceded in death by his grandparents, Bessie and Alvin Hicks and Joe and Bess Van Dyke; his parents Nelda and Jim Van Dyke; his uncle, Tommy Hicks, and his sister-in-law Doris Van Dyke.
Eddie is survived in life by loving family: his beloved wife Sally Stuckert Van Dyke; his daughter and son and their spouses, Heather and Arlen Thielemann and Jarvis and Christy Van Dyke; his grandchildren Dillon Thielemann, Addie Thielemann, Shea Thielemann Carter [Daniel], Jackson Van Dyke, and Ellie Van Dyke; his brother Joe Van Dyke; his brother-in-law and sister-in-law Stephen and Cathy Stuckert; his great aunt Ina Bess Whitaker; his aunt Bobbie Hicks, his nieces and nephew, James Van Dyke [Elisa] and Cindy Van Dyke Flores [Augie], Gretchen Stuckert Noble [Ash], Johanna Stuckert Henry [Justin]; and great nieces and nephews Shelby Flores, Lauren Van Dyke Batey, Kyle Van Dyke, Lincoln Noble, Charlotte Noble, Annabelle Henry, and Margot Henry.
Eddie's life, his exuberant spirit, and his love of God, family, friends, and community will be celebrated on Saturday, July 16, 2022, at 11am in the former First Baptist Church sanctuary, located at 304 NORTH Market St., across from the Post Office in Brenham, with Pastors Dr. Ross Shelton and Troy Sikes officiating.
A Visitation will be held at Memorial Oaks Chapel, 1306 West Main Street, Brenham, Texas, on Friday, July 15, 2022 from 5:00-7:00pm with family being present.
Pallbearers will be Axel Baehren, Augie Flores, Atwood Kenjura, Charlie Matejowsky, Charles Moser, Jim Murphy, Joe Al Picone, Bob Rankin, Ray Robinson, Ken Schwenke, Milton Tate, Dillon Thielemann, Jackson Van Dyke, James Van Dyke, Gary Webb.
For anyone desiring to give a memorial gift in Eddie's memory, the family lovingly suggests that in lieu of flowers a donation be made to:
Texas A&M Lettermen's Association: 756 Houston St, College Station, TX 77843
Washington County EMS: 1875 Highway 290 East, Brenham, TX 77833
Brenham ISD, BHS Athletic Department, 711 E. Mansfield, Brenham, TX
Funeral arrangements are entrusted to Memorial Oaks Chapel, 1306 West Main Street, Brenham, TX 77833.