December 25, 2018

Robert F. Van Kavelaar

Wilmington - Robert Francis "Hawk" VanKavelaar passed away on Tuesday, December 25, 2018, at the Christiana Hospital. He was born July of 1946 in Providence, Rhode Island to the late Maurice L. and Lillian M. VanKavelaar. Bob and his wife, Claire, were as close as a couple could be since their marriage in May of 1976. Claire's love for Bob was boundless. 

He attended St. Helena's Catholic School and served as an altar boy. Bob later graduated from Mount Pleasant High School in 1965 and enlisted in the United States Marine Corps that year. He was a decorated marine having earned the USMC Air Medal and others for serving as a door gunner on a CH-46 helicopter with the HMM 262 Flying Tigers in Viet Nam. After being honorably discharged from service, he began a twenty eight year career working at the DuPont Experimental Station and worked as a technologist in optical microscopy. On several occasions, his expertise was called upon as testimony in court cases at home and abroad. 

Bob loved hiking and backpacking and visited many forests and mountain ranges throughout the U.S. His spirituality surfaced when he was among nature's beauty and solitude and became contemplative. He followed the Philadelphia Eagles and Flyers over the years and was elated over the Eagle's win in the Super Bowl this past February. Bob was also a member of the Del Vets of World War II and had served on their honor guard at various functions.

In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his sister, Lillian VanKavelaar, and his brother, Michael L. VanKavelaar. He is survived by his loving wife, Claire, of 42 years, his sons Robert (Christina) VanKavelaar and Lorne Van Kavelaar, sisters Carol M. Nordmeyer and Milli (Ken) Kahn, and brother David (Bette Jo) VanKavelaar. He is also survived by extended family including nineteen nieces and nephews and many grand nieces and nephews.

Friends are invited to pay their respects on Thursday, January 3 beginning at 8 am at the McCrery & Harra Funeral Home, 3924 Concord Pike, Wilmington, DE where a funeral service will be held at 9 am. Interment will take place at Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery with military honors.

In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations be made to Atonement United Methodist Church, 3519 Philadelphia Pike, Wilmington, DE 19703