Van Lee Danielson, 79, of Boise, Idaho, slipped quietly into the great beyond on July 29, 2023, surrounded by his entire family. With a mischievous grin and a heart full of love, he was born on July 26, 1944, in Colorado Springs, Colorado, sprinkling joy wherever he went. Van, the master of charm and wit, leaves behind his beloved wife, Christy Lee Danielson, and their bunch of adored offspring: Steven Lee, Eric Lee (and his amazing wife Jana), Andrew Lee (and his incredible wife Heidi), Kayla Lee (and her rockstar fiancé Nicholas English), and Kimber Lee. Let's not forget his troop of grandkids - the magnificent bunch of Ryan Eric, Keagan Seth, Hope Maresha (Steven), Tyler Jerry, Hannah Grace (Eric), Andre Henry, Haiden Willard, Avery LaVere, Harper Lee, Ashlyn Sue (Andrew), Ryleeray June, Buckleey Vankeith, Paisleey Faith (Kayla), and Dezirae Christy Seren (Kimber), who all brought extra doses of laughter and happiness to his journey.
Van was preceded in death by his parents, Jesse D. and Alice Hannah Danielson, his in-laws, Charles Henry and Helen "June" Row. He was also preceded in death by his twin brothers, Frank and Ralph Danielson.
Van's life was a colorful blend of adventure and laughter. Possessing a heart the size of Idaho itself, he was known for his loving, personable nature, strength that could move mountains, and a pride that lit up the room. Faithfulness and kindness flowed through his veins, making a positive impact on those around him. Educated with wild passion and curiosity in Boise, Idaho, Van dived into the humbling waters of the United States Navy as a Seaman Apprentice (E-3) from April 23, 1962, to September 1, 1965. With a glint in his eye and salty tales to share, he filled their ranks with unforgettable memories. He was assigned to the USS Belle Grove LSD-2, a Ashland class dock landing ship. Belle Grove was a unit of the Seventh Fleet Amphibious Forces and served our country well in the never ceasing Cold War. Van was deployed in support of the Cuban Missile Blockade (1962) and Westpac Cruise (1963 to 1964). He was assigned to the 2nd Division on the Belle Grove, having the responsibility of handling the lines on the port wing wall, load and unload cargo, embark and debark troops. When manpower was limited, he would assist 1st Division on a stage over the side, life jackets donned, scrubbing, chipping or painting away. "THE TWO CAN DO". . . AND DID!
Van and Christy met in 1970 at the VA Hospital during a VFW bingo event. Dad was receiving care at the hospital and Mom was volunteering with her Mom, and her sisters. Mom saw Dad sitting playing bingo with a cast on his leg and told her sister, “I’m going to marry that man!” Their first date was on October 31, 1970. Dad drove his parents old International pickup and they went to Dry Creek Cemetery. Mom recalls that there was a sign attached to the visor that said, “Put your brain in gear before you put your mouth in motion”. They celebrated Halloween at the cemetery with their friends and spent the evening building memories and haunting everything. Dad proposed on Christmas 1971 and they were married December 24, 1973. Dad and Mom would have celebrated their 50th Wedding Anniversary this year.
Van's career path ran through the Treasure Valley, leaving a trail of memorable jobs that included American Cleaning Services Co., Boise Cascade, Old World Arts, Platt Electric, Waterman Industries, and May Trucking. But his heart belonged to his long-standing position in the Idaho State Board of Correction. Known as C/O Danielson, he was one of the original officers who wrangled the mighty Idaho Maximum Security Institution. He not only maintained law and order but also gamely served on the Correctional Emergency Response Team and Fire Team. March 1986 to January 2007 were the years when Van poured his soul into the service of the great State of Idaho. As Dad would put it, “I was just a high priced baby sitter”.
In times of worship, Van found undeniable solace and spiritual merriment within the halls of The Salvation Army Boise Corps. It was there that his faith and compassion blossomed, fostering bonds that transcended earthly greatness. During the holidays you could always find Dad standing next to a famous red kettle, ringing a bell.
Now, on to the hobbies that spiced up Van's days! Motorcycles had a special place in his heart from a tender age. He drank a Harley-Davidson in his wilder days but opted for the smoother ride of a 1974 Honda XL 100 to share exhilarating moments with his one and only, his dear sweet Christy. Currently, his trusty companion is a Royal Enfield Himalayan, capturing his adventurous soul. When away from two-wheeled escapades, Van loved honing his archery skills, playing cards and cribbage, binge-watching wildlife videos, and showing his prowess on the pool table. Like a true gentleman, he graciously played till his health raised a white flag, showcasing his indomitable spirit and zest for life.
Dad was a member of the following: Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 63, Disabled American Veterans, Toastmasters International, and Amateur Radio Operators of Idaho.
A rambunctious celebration of Van's extraordinary existence will be held at The Salvation Army Boise Corps and Booth Campus, officially known as 9492 West Emerald Street, Boise, Idaho 83704. Services will be held on Saturday, August 12th, 2023 at 12pm (noon), immediately following the service, there will be a celebration of life on site.
In lieu of flowers, we kindly request your support for the Idaho Division of Veterans Services, where your donations will honor Van's legacy and extend assistance to fellow veterans in need. You can happily contribute by sending your generous donations to 351 N Collins Rd, Boise, ID 83702.
As we bid farewell to our incredible HMFIC, let us treasure the memories, share the laughter, tell the same Dad jokes over and over, and keep his playful spirit alive. Remember him not with tear-stained cheeks but with joyful souls that embrace the wonders of life.
Adios, Pop’s. Ride heavenly and keep sprinkling stardust on all who continue their earthly journey.