John was a native of Northwest, Iowa. He grew up in Rock Valley, Iowa the son of Gerrit and Henrietta (Timmer) Van Maanen, where he graduated from High School. He later graduated from NWCC with an AA.
Staff Sergeant John Van Maanen proudly served in the U.S. Air Force from May 1948 to May 1955. In that time he participated in the support staff of the Berlin Air Lift. He met his wife Staff Sergeant Lois Hetzel on a blind date; it was love at first sight and shortly after they married at Camp Kilmer, N.J. They were married 51 years before she preceded him in death in 2003.
John began his 38-year career with IPS/Mid-America in Rock Valley. In 1966 he became the manager in the Sheldon area. He called Sheldon his home until his death.
His greatest joy was serving in his community. John's many areas of service included the founding committee of the Sheldon Avenue of Flags; past president of the Chamber of Commerce and Kiwanis; the Sheldon park board; an original member of the Sheltered Workshop which grew into Village Northwest, Unlimited; co-chair of the Sheldon Centennial Celebration; and the building committee of Sheldon United Methodist Church where he also served for many years as an usher. John was also a member of the local Eagles Club, the VFW and the Masons.
John was recognized by his community as Man of the Year in 1967 and honored with the Sheldon Community Development Corp. Hank Award in 2004.
John was a lifelong fan of the New York Yankees. He loved showing his great "Yankee Room" to his friends and visitors. He and his wife, Lois often cheered for the Yankees at games in the Twin Cities and Kansas City. Later they loved going to Sioux City Explores games and getting to know the players and the manager who would look for them in the stands.
John's front porch became a frequent stop for his many friends. Even children would come to the door and ask, "Can John come out and play?" Customers would look for his friendly smile in the aisles of Hy-Vee where he worked for seven years after retiring from IPS. John was happy to share his knowledge of the community and love of the people with the marvelous staff of the Sheldon Community Development Corp. where he was a daily volunteer for seven years.
He has joined the love of his life, Lois.
John's greatest treasure was his family, the Rev. Donna Van Maanen of Oakdale, Calif.; Karen Paulsen and Cathy Van Maanen both of Le Mars; his grandchildren, Christy DeLoura, Patty Scarset, David Paulsen, Alisha Paulsen, Aaron McVicker and Carrie, Alex McVicker, and Audra McVicker; 11 great-grandchildren, and several foster children, his brothers, Bill and Jo Van Maanen of Rock Valley,and Larry and Nancy Hylarides of Le Sueur, Minn. (Buddy the Squirrel)
John loved his country, community, family and friends. Though his life here is over his legacy never ends.
Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the United Methodist Church, Sheldon, with the Rev. Marvin Lindley and the Rev. Donna Van Maanen, officiating. Burial will be in the East Lawn Cemetery in Sheldon with a military graveside services by the Sheldon Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #7354 and the American Legion Post #145.
Visitation will be after 2 p.m. today (Monday) with the family present from 6 to 7:30 p.m. with a prayer service at 7:30 p.mm. at the Vander Ploeg Funeral Home in Sheldon, which is in charge of arrangements.