David A. Van Vleet passed away Monday, January 3, 2022 in Tacoma, Washington after a long illness. Dave was born in 1957, the first of four children born to Audrey & Donald Van Vleet. Dave enjoyed a happy childhood in Fircrest surrounded by his siblings and neighborhood kids. Dave attended school from Kindergarten through high school with the same friends. Dave received many honors from Henry Foss High School upon graduation in 1975. Henry Foss himself congratulated Dave on his achievements. He was an Eagle Scout and completed several 50 Miler scout hikes around Mount Rainier. Climbing to the summit of Mount Hood was among his favorite achievements. Dave volunteered with Pierce County Search & Rescue in his younger years.
Dave attended WSU, then the University of Washington, graduating in 1979 with a degree in Civil Engineering with honors. He was employed by the Port of Seattle and designed projects for waterfront port facilities and SeaTac Airport. Dave was the lead engineer who designed and engineered many of the taxiway upgrades at SeaTac that we all experience while taxiing to and from the runway and airport gates. The next time you fly from SeaTac, think of Dave’s many years of work and life fulfillment. He absolutely loved the airport and travel, meeting family member’s flights down the hall from his office. Dave enjoyed teaching his sons how to build things around the house with an engineer’s mind. He also passed on to his sons how an engine worked and how to take care of a car. Taking a drive just for an adventure was great fun for him. Dave was an avid fan of the Mariners. Watching games with his children brought him great joy. He had a competitive spirit playing baseball and football in high school. He cheered on the Huskies and the Seahawks. Dave had an incredible memory, loved numbers and their meaningful connections to people.
Dave had a deep faith in God, desiring to share his love for Jesus with everyone. He had a big heart for his family, and loved memorizing family history. Visiting his ancestral homelands in Norway was a highlight of his young adult years. He was married to Jodi Ibsen for 23 years, and was father to four children who survive him, Joshua (Amanda), Jessica (Noel) Christmas, Jordan (Katie), Johannah Lindsay; and two granddaughters.
Dave was predeceased by his parents who loved him unconditionally, Audrey (Van Vleet) Bowers and Don Van Vleet, and his loving grandparents. Surviving Dave are the siblings who never gave up helping him through many difficult years: Diane Olsen (Rich), Dwight Van Vleet (Penny), and Dean Van Vleet; six nieces; his dear aunts, uncles, and cousins; his step-father, Bill Bowers, and four step-siblings.
A private family graveside service was held in Auburn, Washington. A memorial service will be held at a future date. Memorials may be made to Franciscan Hospice in Tacoma, Washington; or NAMI South King County.
Our family wishes to thank the staff of Hallmark Manor in Federal Way, and Saint Joseph Hospital in Tacoma for their compassion, patience, kindness, and care for Dave in his last years, months, and days. Especially during Covid when he was confined to his room for 21 months at the end of his life. A heartfelt thank you to the kind nurses, doctors, and CNA’s who were Dave’s caregivers and human contact during the pandemic. Please remember Dave by doing something kind for a stranger, especially someone in great need. You may never know how much that will mean to them and to their family