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U.S. Air Force Helicopter History
Ferdinand W. Van Deursen, USAF (Retired)May 18, 1932 – February 16, 2018
Ferdinand W. Van Deursen, of Olympia, WA, passed away peacefully on February 16, 2018 following a 17-year battle with cancer.
Ferd was born on May 18, 1932 in New Brunswick, New Jersey, the oldest of two children to parents Ferdinand Wagner Van Deursen, Sr. and Helen Space Van Deursen.
The family relocated to Troy, New York, and Ferd graduated from Lansingburgh High School with the class of 1950. Ferd then attended Rutgers University, where he earned his bachelor’s degree and participated in the Glee Club, ROTC, and the University Choir. He graduated from Rutgers in 1954. Ferd was a pilot, flying the great C-130 aircraft and helicopters for the Air Force for 26 years. He earned numerous awards and decorations before retiring 1981.
After earning his MBA at the University of Puget Sound, he became a CPA, working in the State Auditor’s Office for 13 years and making state agencies toe the line all over the state.
He married his first wife and high school sweetheart, Janet Seith, in 1954, who died of cancer in 1987. They were blessed with three children, an infant son who died at birth, and two beloved daughters, Pam Van Deursen of Montpelier, Vermont, and Cynthia Van Deursen of Edmonds, Washington. In 1990, he was blessed to marry again, to Harriet Gleason of Olympia, Washington, and enjoyed 28 years together.
Ferd enjoyed golf, attending musicals, and all things Rutgers. He grew to love caring for Harriet’s horses over the years.
A Celebration of Life will be held at Mills & Mills Funeral Home and Memorial Park on Saturday, May 19, 2018.
Remembrances may be expressed online at www.millsandmillsfunerals.com.Ferd requested that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be made to Fred Hutchinson Cancer Institute or the charity of your choice.
Published in News Tribune (Tacoma) on Mar. 11, 2018