William Earl VanTassel was born May 18, 1923, on a farm near Vilas, Colorado, to John Alonzo VanTassel and Emma Avelda (Thompson) VanTassel, and passed away on December 11, 2010, in West Plains, Missouri, at 87 years of age.
Earl grew up in a Christian family and accepted Christ as his savior at a young age. He graduated from Walsh High School in 1941.
Earl entered the United States Marine Corps March 24, 1944. He was sent to Pearl Harbor on September 10, 1944 and to Guam in late October 1944. His company in the Third Marine Division arrived in Iwo Jima, January, 1945, where his company assisted in the capturing of the island for the United States.
He returned to the states in May of 1946 and raised broomcorn in southeast Colorado. On April 17, 1947, he married Ruby Lucille Burhenn. He was called back for service in 1951 for the Korean War in the Marine Corps in 1950 and was stationed in Camp Pendleton where his first daughter, Rita Louise, was born April 5, 1951.
Earl qualified as a Sharp Shooter Rifleman, was issued the American Theater of Operations Ribbon, the Asiatic Pacific Theater of Operations Ribbon with a star, the Occupation of China Ribbon with a star, the World War II Victory Medal and two honorable discharges: World War II and Korean War.
In 1952 he moved his family to Bethune, Colorado. Three more children were born to the family: Ernest Lee, October 10, 1955; Karen Fern, September 13, 1959; and Lora June, March 18 1966. While raising his family he owned and operated a farm near Bethune, Colorado, raising registered Ayrshires and growing irrigated alfalfa, corn, and sorghum. He and Ruby were charter members of First Baptist Church of Burlington, Colorado, where he taught Sunday school and served in other leadership roles.
Earl married Rosa Powers June 2, 1991, in Thornton, Colorado. He and Rosa first lived in Burlington. They later moved to Ordway where he was employed by the Colorado Department of Corrections and then moved to Idalia, Colorado. He and Rosa moved to Mountain Grove, Missouri, in May of 1999, where they owned and operated a dairy.
Attending church was important to Earl, and wherever he lived, church attendance was a part of his life.
Besides his parents, Earl was preceded in death by three brothers, four sisters and one great-grandson.
He is survived by his wife of the home, Rosa; one son, Ernest VanTassel and his wife, Kim, of Cabool, Missouri; three daughters, Rita Hendon and her husband, Ronnie, of Hawley, Texas, Karen Loganbill and her husband, Larry, of Moundridge, Kansas, and Lora Paz and her husband, James, of Yoder, Wyoming; three stepsons; three stepdaughters; one sister, Alta England of Duea, Texas; 17 grandchildren; five great-grandchildren; and a host of other family, friends, church family, and neighbors who will greatly miss him.
Funeral services were held Wednesday, December 15, 2010. at Southside Baptist Church in Mountain Grove with Rev. Roger Flint, Rev. Kenneth McIntosh, Rev. Jeff Smith, and Rev. Jerry Arnold officiating. “This World Is Not My Home,” “I Love to Tell the Story,” “Life’s Railway to Heaven” and “Precious Memories” were sung by Kim VanTassel with Dale Cleghorn serving as accompanist. Luke Loganbill, Rusty Hendon, Ricky Hendon, Joshua VanTassel, Ezra VanTassel, Hezekiah VanTassel, Nathaniel VanTassel, Edwin Paz, and Robert Loganbill served as pallbearers. Full military honors were provided by American Legion Post 30 and the United States Army Burial Detail Team from Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Services were under the direction of Craig-Hurtt Funeral Home, Mountain Grove.
Graveside services and burial will be in Stonington Cemetery in Stonington, Colorado, on Friday, December 17, 2010, at 2:00 p.m. under the direction of Dykes Funeral Home, Walsh, Colorado.
Online condolences can be sent to www.craighurttfuneralhome.com.