Our hero, Vail Van Leuven, 94 of Roberts, Idaho passed away June 23, 2019 at Life Care Center in Idaho Falls. He was born January 23, 1925 in Annis, Idaho to Lester James Van Leuven and Leona Viulate Hall. The family moved to Roberts in 1935 after losing their farm in Hazelton during the depression. Vail attended school in Roberts and continued his education throughout his life.
His sister Ada introduced him to his future bride, Bessie Dora Rasmussen. They were married on August 21, 1943. The marriage was solemnized in the Logan temple later that year. They lacked 2 months of being married 69 years when Bessie passed away in 2012.
In 1944, Vail joined the US Army and left in January of that year for service in WWII. He fought on Okinawa, the “bloodiest battle of the war,” where he earned a purple heart. He was in the first wave of transport in the occupation of mainland Japan.
When Vail returned from the war he and Bessie bought the farm adjoining his parent's in Roberts where they spent the rest of their lives raising hay, grain, cows and kids. He was the mail carrier for the Menan, Lewisville, and Roberts areas for several years. He managed the Bonneville Co-op for a time in the 1970's, and was on the board of directors. He was a frequent contributor to the Post Register Letters to the Editor
He lived a life of service for his family and community and had many friends. He was a member of the Lions Club for several years and served as president. He received recognition from the Governor for his work following the Teton Dam Disaster. He was a trustee for the Jefferson County school board and served as chairman. Vail and Bessie served a mission for the LDS church in Nauvoo, Illinois. He enjoyed driving the team of horses giving tours of beautiful Nauvoo, and managing the farm there. He was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and served in the bishopric at one time.
Vail is survived by his eight children; Sons: Lester James “Jim” (Mary) Van Leuven, Jerry (Krystal) Van Leuven, Roberts Idaho, Jay (Pam) Van Leuven, Idaho Falls, Idaho, Kent (Laura) Van Leuven, Roberts, Idaho, Daughters: Ann (Richard) Wood, Roberts, Idaho, Diane (Lester) Hook, Rigby, Idaho, Vicki (Darreld Lloyd) Walton, Arco, Idaho, Margaret (Glenn) Skelton, Safe Haven Mississippi. 40 grandchildren, 101 grandchildren and 16 great - great grandchildren. Brothers and Sisters: Myles Van Leuven, Kennewick, Washington, Lita (Wes) Fisher, Utah, Ila, Pyrah, Alpine Utah.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Lester and Leona Van Leuven, his wife Bessie Van Leuven, Brothers and Sisters, Edsel Van Leuven, Lee Van Leuven, Ada Jones, 1 great grandchild and 1 great - great grandchild.
Funeral services will be at 11:00 am Friday, June 28, 2019 at the Roberts 2nd Ward Chapel. Family will meet friends Thursday from 7 to 8:30 pm, and Friday, 9:30 to 10:45 am both at the Church. Burial will be in the Annis Little Butte Cemetery. Services are under the care of Eckersell Funeral Home in Rigby; condolences may be sent to the family online at www.eckersellfuneralhome.com.