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Marvin Douglas “Doug” Van Etten

Marvin Douglas “Doug” Van Etten, age 94, of Morton passed away on May 20, 2023, at Snyder Village, where he was recuperating from recent illnesses. Born on September 27, 1928, in Havana. He was the middle child of D. Melvin and Lora B. (Dobson) Van Etten. Doug married his high school sweetheart, Alice Leigh Bell, on October 16, 1949, in Havana where they started their married life of 67 years and their family of three children – Doug Jr., Sue Anne and Sara. Sadly, Alice passed in November of 2016. Doug worked as a mechanic at Van Etten’s Garage, his parents’ business, repairing cars and engines. He ran his own locksmith business, earned his pilot’s license, was president of the Havana Optimist Club and the driving force behind the Optimist Club Memorial Pool being built. While working and raising his family in Havana, Doug attended and graduated from Bradley University. After graduation, Doug began his teaching career at high schools in Mt. Vernon and then Crystal Lake. A recommendation by an old professor brought him back to Bradley as an instructor and he moved his family to their new hometown of Morton. While teaching at Bradley, Doug continued his own education, earning two Master’s degrees and his Doctorate from Indiana University. In 1978 when Bradley phased out the engines program, Doug moved to Illinois Central College. He received the Ralph Teetor Education award while there and retired in 1994. Not one to sit around, he started a second career in tire failure analysis, quickly becoming an expert and a highly sought-after witness in court cases. Doug was a thinker, tinker, and knowledge seeker. He enjoyed learning about things that interested him his whole life. He enjoyed spending time with family and friends biking, skiing, flying kites, golfing, camping, fishing, working on engines, tinkering in his workshop, and teaching. He was a skilled woodworker and stained-glass craftsman, making many treasured items for family and friends. He was an enthusiastic collector of duck decoys, padlocks, tools, and early American antiques. Doug was a multi-gallon donor of the Red Cross Gallon club, a member of the National Association of Industrial Technology, Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM), Havana Optimist Club, National Rifle Association (NRA), Ducks Unlimited, International Key Collectors, and Decoys Unlimited. Preceding Doug was his beloved wife Alice, his parents, his sister and brother-in-law, Joyce and John Wright, his brother and sister-in-law, Arnold and Anne Van Etten, and his brother-in-law, Kenneth Bell. Doug is survived by his three children, Marvin Douglas (Deana) Van Etten, Jr. of New Port Richey, FL, Sue Anne (Jim) Uphoff of Springfield, Sara (Mike) Drew of Morton; five grandchildren, Katie (Kyle) Hahnel, Lindsay (Maurio) Gallipoli, Catherine, Meghan, and Michael Drew; three great-grandchildren, Graham, Joel, and Isaac Hahnel; sister-in-law, Marjorie Bell, and several nieces and nephews. The family is very grateful of and thankful for Dr. Janice Takata-Rossi and her excellent care and friendship, her staff, and the staff at Snyder Village. It was Doug’s wish was to be cremated. A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, July 19 at Knapp-Johnson Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Morton. Visitation will be from 9:30 to 11 a.m., Wednesday prior to the service at the funeral home. Memorials in Doug’s name can be made to: Havana Optimist Club through Havana National Bank, C/O Don Roch, 112 S Orange St, Havana, IL 62644, or to the Red Cross Central Illinois Chapter, 311 West John Gwynn Jr. Ave., Peoria, IL 61605. Knapp-Johnson Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Morton is handling arrangements. To leave an online condolence for the family, visit

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