Harold Leslie VanArsdale, Jr. “Van”, age 70, longtime resident of Ponca City, passed away Friday, June 29, 2018, in Oklahoma City.
A memorial ceremony to celebrate his life will be held at 10 a.m., Friday, July 6, at the Connect Church, 1101 W. Grand Ave. in Ponca City with Pastor Mark Busch officiating. Arrangements are under the direction of Trout Funeral Home & Crematory.
Van was born on March 2, 1948, to Harold Leslie VanArsdale, Sr. and Bernadine Elizabeth VanArsdale in Fall River Mills, Calif. While he was in school, his parents moved to Ponca City with Van graduating from Ponca City High School in 1966.
After high school, Van was drafted by the U.S. Army. Before leaving for Vietnam, Van had struck up a friendship with Carol Sue Osborn. They corresponded by letter while he was in Vietnam, with Van asking her to marry him in a particularly special letter. Upon his return, they were married on Sept. 12, 1969, in Ponca City. Their marriage was blessed by their daughter, Sarah, in 1985 and son, Robert, in 1987.
In his early career, Van started with the City of Ponca City in the Sanitation department. He worked there for six months before a position with the Ponca City Fire Department opened up setting him off on his career. Van loved his time with the Fire Dept. and eventually worked his way up to Assistant Chief before his retirement in 2000. After retirement from the Fire Dept., Van began working with the Community Court Sentencing, mentoring offenders as they worked their way back into society. In addition, Van served as the CPR instructor at Pioneer Vo-Tech for many years.
Exemplified by his career, Van was a selfless soul, independent in his ways, but always looking to see how he could help others. Family was most important to Van, sitting with his wife, hiking with his children and spending time outdoors with them were the activities he enjoyed the most. When his children were younger, Van was active with their competitive swimming adventures, running time or troubleshooting the electronics and computers at the meets. More recently, Van has been enamored with his grandchildren, enjoying every minute with them as he was able. He will be dearly missed by his friends and family.
Survivors include his daughter, Sarah Payne and husband Jarod of Ponca City; son, Robert VanArsdale and wife Cassie of Ponca City; brothers, Bryan VanArsdale and wife Regeneia of Ponca City and Gary VanArsdale of Ponca City; grandchildren, Christopher Payne, Caleb Payne, Kailee Payne, Jimmie Payne and Ellie VanArsdale.
He was preceded in death by his parents; beloved wife of 48 years; and his brother Gilbert VanArsdale.
Memorial contributions in Van’s name may be made to the Oklahoma Firefighter’s Association, 2716 NE 50th Street, Oklahoma City, OK, 73111.