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Obituary – Clarence (Van) Vandenberg

A celebration of the life of Clarence (Van) Vandenberg will be held on Saturday, May 14th at Los Gatos Lodge, 50 Los Gatos Saratoga Road, Los Gatos, CA from 11:00am to 2:00pm.


Van passed away on May 4th surrounded by his loving family after an extended battle with cancer. He was born November 28, 1928 in Turlock, CA and was the son of Henrietta and Richard Vandenberg. From humble, small town roots, Van had an amazing journey and remarkable life. After graduating from Ripon High and attending University of Nevada Reno, he joined the Navy and became a fighter pilot during the Korean War. Beyond two tours and numerous carrier landings, he diverted an unmanned jet from crashing into San Diego by maneuvering his plane wing under the other jet and steering it safely out to sea – earning him the “key” to the cities of San Diego and Coronado. After active Navy duty, looking to complete his education, he saw a sign off 280 for a school he had never heard of before, Stanford University. They welcomed him with open arms and he took the admission test, passed it and graduated with an Industrial Engineering degree. Upon graduating Stanford, he joined IBM and had a dynamic career that took him and his family from the Bay Area to Hong Kong and England. This international immersion broadened his world with friendships that spanned the globe, nuanced his understanding of world history, cultures, and expanded his love of art from Native American artifacts to Asian and European collections. Following his retirement from IBM, he enrolled in an art school in the South of France and excelled in both sculpting and painting. Afterwards he spent his remaining years in Los Gatos, and then ultimately between Rossmoor and Santa Fe. Van was smart, charming, romantic, wise, a great father, loyal friend and possessed a lifelong intellectual curiosity.

He is survived by his family, Cary Vandenberg and Laurie Garvey, Scott and Monique Vandenberg, Brian and Shari Fallis, Elise and Jerry Cutini, along with eleven grandchildren Jordan, Evan, Quinn, Justin, Kaylee, Tyler, Paige, Mikayla, Nicolette, Isabella and Gabriella. Among the loves of his life are his ex-wife, mother of his children and lifetime friend, Anita Vandenberg and his childhood friend and loving companion, Carol Posey. He is also survived by his older brother and sister in law Rick and Joylin Vandenberg, their children, Ricky Vandenberg and Susie Bolton.

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