Emy Lou Van Dusen, age 95 of Huntington Beach, CA died January 21, 2021, due to complications of COVID-19 at West Anaheim Extended Care in Anaheim, CA where she had been a resident the last five years.
She was named after both of her grandmothers, Emma Louise Cheney, born in Wabeno, WI to Joseph Curtis "Curt" Cheney and Mabel Lucy Neuville on September 14, 1925. She was called "Emy Lou" and grew up in Wabeno where her parents owned The Cheney Motor Company, a Chevrolet dealership and repair garage. She graduated from Wabeno High School in 1943. She then attended one year at Lawrence College in Appleton, WI. She went on to study at Stout Institute (now the University of Wisconsin-Stout) in Menominie, WI. She met her future husband while they were both attending Stout Institute.
She married Raymond Greening Van Dusen on April 15, 1945 in Knapp, WI. After their marriage, they lived for a time in South Bend, IN. In 1956, a job opportunity moved them to Torrance in Southern California. Emy Lou continued her studies and graduated from El Camino College, Torrance, CA in 1965. She completed her education at Pacific Oaks College in Pasadena, CA. She had a love for young children, so she majored in Child Development and was employed in the early days of Head Start, a government program to help the development of underprivileged children and ensure they were well prepared for kindergarten. She became a supervisor at Head Start and worked there many years.
She had a great love for her family and attended many of their milestone life events. She was a free spirit, independent thinker, spiritual, adventurous, loved traveling and exploring new places. She enjoyed taking advanced sewing classes and learning new ways to express her creativity through sewing, quilting, machine embroidery, appliqué, and tailoring. Her children and grandchildren have been recipients of many handmade articles of clothing, embellished clothing, quilts, and other handmade items.
She and Ray Van Dusen divorced in May 1969, but remarried each other on December 26, 1986 in Las Vegas, NV.
She is survived by six children; Dyrck (Gina), Airville, PA; Patrick, Ontario, CA; Susan (Ken) Van Eizenga, Mesa, AZ; Timothy, Clark Fork, ID; Thomas (Melanie), Clark Fork, ID; and Kris (Kathy), San Clemente, CA. She is also survived by a brother, Benjamin G. Cheney, Marinette, WI; 23 grandchildren; 48 great-grandchildren; and 1 great-great-granddaughter.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Ray Van Dusen in 1996, her parents, her brother Joseph C. Cheney; daughters-in-law, Joni Lynn (Swanson) Van Dusen and Tanya Lynn (Brickman) Van Dusen; infant grandsons, Patrick Raymond Van Dusen and Jeremy Ray Van Eizenga, and a teen great-grandson Patrick Laine Van Dusen.
Because of COVID restrictions in California, there will be no funeral or memorial in California; however, she wished to be cremated, have a fruit tree planted in her honor at her son Thom's North Idaho property, and have her ashes fertilize the new tree. There will be a family memorial service in North Idaho in August 2021 where her final wishes will be honored.
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