Rev. Donald Van Dreser, 94, died peacefully on Sunday, September 21, at Starr Farm Nursing Center surrounded by family members.
Don was born on December 1, 1917, in Gloversville, New York, to Flossie (Nickloy) and W. Brown Van Dreser, the first of two children. He graduated from the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania in 1939.
After the attack on Pearl Harbor, Don enlisted in the Army Air Corps, where he served in Kumming, China, as part of the 23rd Fighter Group, the first official U.S. replacement to the Flying Tigers. He finished his tour with the Army Air Corps, stationed in the Aleutian Islands with the rank of Second Lieutenant. While Don was a very peaceful man, his service in WW II was a significant life experience.
Don returned to Gloversville after the war where he worked in the manufacturing of paper boxes. In 1946 he met and married Miriam West, a young school teacher.
Eventually Don and his family moved to Atlanta, Georgia and later Radford, Virginia continuing in the paper box industry. It was while in Radford he was called to enter the ministry.
After graduating from Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Don joined the Troy Methodist Conference and accepted assignment to a church in Lake Luzerne, New York. He served there for three years and moved to the Williston Federated Church in 1964. He led this congregation for 18 years, retiring in 1983.
In his retirement, Don and Miriam enjoyed travelling around the country spending time with their children and grandchildren. Working with pastels and watercolors was a great source of relaxation for Don along with puttering in his garden.
Don was predeceased by Miriam, his wife of 60 years in 2006; and more recently his brother, Alden. He is survived by his children, Dona Bradish and her husband, Robert of Williston, Vermont, Susan Van Dreser of Winnipeg, Manitoba; Sally Van Dreser Cheney and her husband, James, of Milton, Vermont, and Thomas Van Dreser and his wife, Amy Eisenberg of Boulder, Colorado; grandchildren, Inoa, Isora, Thomas, Daniel, Samuel, Anna and Karen; his sisters-in-law, Janeth Richards of Watkins Glenn, New York and Louise West of Estero, Florida; as well as several nieces and nephews.
The family offers a heart-felt thank you to the staff at both Starr Farm Nursing Center and the Gazebo for their loving care of Dad over the last years of his life.
A service to celebrate Don's life will be held at the Williston Federated Church on Sunday, October 7, at 2 p.m.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the National Parkinson's Foundation at 1501 NW 9th Avenue/Bob Hope Road, Miami, FL 33136-1494. Corbin & Palmer is in charge of the arrangements.