Peter ‘Pete’ Van Vooren
Peter “Pete” Van Vooren, 75, of Minneota, died on Tuesday, May 28, 2019, under the care of Avera At Home Hospice at his residence in Minneota.
The funeral service for Pete will be at 3 p.m. on Monday, June 3 at Hope Lutheran Church in Minneota. Visitation will be Sunday from 5 p.m. – 8 p.m. with a Prayer Service at 8 p.m. at Rehkamp Horvath Funeral Home in Minneota.
Visitation will continue from 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. Monday at the church. Interment will follow the service at Hope Lutheran Cemetery in Minneota.
Peter Anton Van Vooren was born January 13, 1944, to Clarence and Irene (Paulson) Van Vooren of rural Ihlen, MN.
Five years later his brother, James, joined the family. Born in the Pipestone community hospital, Pete enjoyed growing up near Ihlen and later moved to a farm near Lake Benton.
He spent a few years in the Verdi school and then transferred to Lake Benton High School where he graduated in 1962.
In high school he was a standout football and basketball player. He was a member of Grace Lutheran Church in Lake Benton where he was Confirmed and a member of their youth program.
He then continued his education at Augustana College in Sioux Falls, SD, earning a major in math and a minor in business education.
He played football for one year and was on the wrestling team his senior year. Upon graduation, he married his high school sweetheart, Gayle Koehne of Lake Benton, on June 11, 1966, at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Lake Benton.
They moved to Minneota that Fall where he began his teaching career. High school math, computers, and coaching were Pete’s vocation while his family also grew with sons Brett, Boyd, and Brady born over the years.
He worked with the football program and helped move the chains at games where he could watch his sons play on the field.
He was approached in that first year to start a wrestling program as there was much interest among the students.
He agreed, but with only one year of experience, he studied the rule book excessively. Minneota wrestling became his focus as young men took to the sport readily.
Those early years were tough, but learning, desire, and good sportsmanship saw many young men move through the program with much success.
Those times became treasured memories for Pete. He was a member of Hope Lutheran Church where he served as President of the Council, worked with the financial program, and sang in Jubilation.
As a farm kid, Pete never outgrew his love of the open fields.
He bought a quarter of land in Pipestone County and became a weekend farmer while still teaching and coaching. He would later sell the land and purchased Van’s Trailer Court in town where he met many interesting folks.
Pete loved tinkering with old cars, had a love of restoring furniture, and made many stained glass pieces.
His retirement from teaching at a young age, after 34 years of service, gave him ample time for all his hobbies and friends. He enjoyed watching his sons in their many sporting events.
As they grew, married, and began their own families, the Van Voorens became road warriors as they attended their grandchildren’s activities. Coffee at the Roundup Office and visiting with family and friends rounded out his life.
Pete is survived by his wife, Gayle, of 52 years, and his sons and their families: Brett and Katie, Josie and Aubree of Waconia; Boyd and Annette, Emma and Conner of Milbank, SD; and Brady and Tiffany, Zachary and Matthew of Woodbury; brother Jim and Monica of Sartell; plus many nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Pete was preceded in death by his parents, and many aunts, uncles, and cousins.