Deacon Raymond Van Wassenhove, 89, dies; funeral Mass is March 13 in Kewanee

Deacon Raymond Van Wassenhove

KEWANEE — A funeral Mass was to be offered at 10 a.m. on Friday, March 13, at Saint John Paul II Parish here for Deacon Raymond J. Van Wassenhove, who served as a permanent deacon at the parish from 1990 to 2005 when it was known as St. Mary.

Deacon Van Wassenhove, who was ordained in 1977 as a member of the first class of permanent deacons for the Diocese of Brooklyn, died on March 5, 2020, at Betty’s Garden Memory Care in Kewanee. He was 89.

Visitation was planned from 4 to 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, at Rux Funeral Home in Kewanee, with the rosary to be prayed at 4 p.m.

Concelebrants of the funeral liturgy will include Father Johndamaseni Zilimu, pastor, Father Duane Jack, and Msgr. Tim Nolan.

Born June 15, 1930, in Kewanee to Raymond and Marie (Vereecke) Van Wassenhove, he graduated from Kewanee High School in 1948 and attended St. Ambrose University. He served in the U.S. Army in the 101st Airborne Division and later became vice president of marketing for the corporate offices of JC Penney in New York. He had also worked as a cabinet maker and custom designer for Ast Cabinet Shop in Kewanee.

He married Sally Graham on Dec. 15, 1951, in Kewanee. She survives, along with their seven children: Brian Van Wassenhove of Kewanee, Marie (Mike) Olynciw of Floral Park, New York, Mary Kay (Mike) Daley of New Smyrna Beach, Florida, Joseph (Caren) Van Wassenhove of Poughkeepsie, New York, Carrie (Marty) Shelby of Largo, Florida, and Elizabeth (Eric) Wolf and Paul (Maureen) Van Wassenhove, both of Kewanee. He is also survived by a sister, Mary Anne Sullivan of Kewanee, 13 grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren and several nieces and nephews.

Following his ordination in New York, he served as deacon at St. Nicholas of Tolentine Parish in Flushing until 1989. Returning to Kewanee, his duties at St. Mary Parish included marriage preparation and enrichment seminars, Bible study, RCIA, visiting the sick and homebound, assisting at the homeless shelter, and serving as director of WATCH weekends until his transition to senior status in 2005.

A Fourth Degree member of the Knights of Columbus, Deacon Van Wassenhove was also active in Cursillo and enjoyed painting, singing, woodworking and playing cards.

Burial will be in Mt. Olivet Cemetery, with military rites accorded by the Kewanee Veterans Council.

Memorials may be directed to Saint John Paul II Parish or to the Knights of Columbus.



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