Vincent C. Van Velzer, 99, Overbrook: April 9, 1921 – Feb. 20, 2021 – Osage County Online | Osage County News

Vincent C. Van Velzer, 99, Overbrook: April 9, 1921 – Feb. 20, 2021

OVERBROOK, Kan. – Vincent Clare Van Velzer, 99, passed away quietly Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021, in Overbrook, Kan. He was born April 9, 1921, in Los Angeles, Calif., to Elsie and Francis Clare Van Velzer.

Vincent grew up in Whittier, Calif. He graduated from Whittier High School in 1939, after which he enrolled in the Civilian Pilot Training Program during the early years of WWII, flying WACO biplane trainers out of Prescott, Ariz. Following graduation, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps, serving aboard the B-29 “Miss Lead” as a radio operator. He flew three missions over Japan from the island of Tinian before the war ended in August 1945.

After the war, Vincent graduated from USC with his BS in electrical engineering and entered the rapidly growing aerospace field. He was an avid sailor in these early post-war years, sailing his homebuilt sailboat in the waters of Redondo Beach, Long Beach, and Pacific Palisades. His membership in the newly established Porsche Owners Club took him and his Model 356 coupe to regular rallies throughout the southern California region, as well as to Mexico.

It was through this active social life that Vincent met Mary Karnes, whom he married in August 1957.

Vincent’s aerospace work continued through the 1960s and 1970s as he, Mary and their three boys built the family’s beloved rural retreat at Old West Ranch in the Tehachapi Mountains. For more than three decades, Tehachapi was the center of the Van Velzers’ steadily growing family. During this time, Vincent and Mary also came to share their mutual passion for aviation, which continued well past Vincent’s retirement from Boeing Aerospace in 1992.

Vincent re-located to the small town of Overbrook, following the passing of his wife, Mary. He was a respected and well-loved member of the Brookside Retirement Community and a favorite among its staff members. His passing leaves a sorrowful void in the lives of his family, who will miss his quick wit and intellect, sense of humor, and affable nature.

Vincent’s loving wife, Mary Louise, predeceased him in April 2017. He is survived by his sister, Patricia; sons Mike, Bill, and Paul, and their wives Lynn, Karen, and Teddy; nephews, Howard and Rob Heard, Howard’s wife, Bonnie, and Vance Van Velzer, his wife, Livia, and two sons, Eric and Craig; and seven grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.

A memorial service to celebrate Vincent’s life will be 9 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, at Immanuel Lutheran Church, Leavenworth, Kan.

Donations are suggested to the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, sent in care of Lamb-Roberts-Price Funeral Home, PO Box 268, Overbrook, KS 66524. Condolences can be left at

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