Warren R. Van Buskirk passed away in Missoula on Nov. 28, 2009.
He died of natural causes. A vigil service in his memory will be held at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church in Havre on Wednesday, Dec. 2, at 8 p.m. The funeral liturgy in celebration of Warren’s life will be conducted on Thursday, Dec. 3, at 10 a.m. at St. Jude’s, with Father Dale Yurkovic as celebrant. Warren and his sister were born in Wolf Point, Mont., on Jan. 15, 1920, the first recorded births of Caucasian twins. He was especially devoted to his Irish immigrant mother, Marie Callahan, all of her life. Warren’s father worked for the railroad, so the family moved to Havre shortly after his birth and that Hi-Line town was where he happily spent the rest of his life. He graduated from Havre High School in 1938, and went to work for the railroad shortly thereafter, beginning in the warehouse and eventually becoming a chief dispatcher. Like most men of his era, Warren’s work life was interrupted by World War II. He enlisted in the Army shortly after Pearl Harbor, and because he had learned Morse Code with the railroad, he was quickly assigned to the 118th Signal Radio Intelligence Company with General Patton’s Third Army. He spent his war years in the European Theater and his company was awarded the Presidential Unit Citation. He was modest about his service and never really talked about it, except to say that the world was in crisis and he felt that he needed to do his duty. He returned to Havre after the war and almost immediately met his future wife, Edith Mary DeRosa. They were married on June 7, 1947, and Warren began the happiest period of his life. All he ever wanted to be was a husband and father, and he and Edith quickly had four children in five years: Mike, Mary, Jean and Warren. The classic “caboose child,” Edie, came along 10 years later. Warren was an active leader for the Cub Scout and Boy Scout troops at St. Jude Thaddeus Catholic Church, primarily because his children were involved in those programs. He organized many camping and float trips for the Scouts, and always ended up being the chief cook. Because of his service, Warren was awarded the Order of the Arrow by the Boy Scouts of America and the Pelican Award by his church. He was a loyal volunteer and supporter of the Havre Lions swim team, spending many hours as a driver, timer and fundraiser. Warren’s involvement was motivated again by his children’s interest in swimming, and he served on the planning committee for the new city-county pool in the early 1970s. Warren was a member of St. Jude Thaddeus Cathiolic Church and the Knights of Columbus. He was also a member of the Elks, and a lifelong Democrat because, in his opinion, it was the party of the common man. He is survived by his five children, Mike Van Buskirk (Rose) of Springfield, Va., Mary Van Buskirk (Roger) of Havre, Jean Whaley (Scott) of Missoula, Warren Van Buskirk of Gig Harbor, Wash., and Edie Van Buskirk (Mike) of Missoula; nine beloved grandchildren: Michael, Chris, Kristi (Lenci), Danelle (Mike), Angie, Katie, Alex, Kyle and Sean; two great-granddaughters, Katherine and Amanda; his sister- in-law, Eunice DeRosa; his brothers-in-law, Sam DeRosa (Ellie) and Tony DeRosa; and his special friend, Joanne English. Warren was preceded in death by his wife, Edith; his sisters, Dorothy, Dorrance and Wanda; and his parents. Because Warren was a practical man, and out of respect for the Church season of Advent, the family requests that contributions should be made in lieu of flowers. Those contributions can be sent to the Warren and Edith Van Buskirk Scholarship at the Montana State University-Northern Foundation, P. O. Box 1691, Havre, MT 59501, or a charity of one’s choice.