Robert was born August 3, 1922, to Pearl L. and Myrtle (Gleason) Van Natta. He graduated from Cherokee Wilson High School in May 1940. After graduation he worked for Swanson Grocery and Illinois Central Railroad prior to going into the US Army in November 1942. He trained in the Army as a Combat Engineer at Fort Belvoir, VA. In May 1943 he was reclassified to limited service and was assigned to an Army Band, played for military formations, reviews, retreat parades, and dances at USO clubs. He saw duty in England, France, Belgium, and Germany before returning to the United States.
Robert was married to Dolores Jean Schilling on November 12, 1950 in Cherokee, Iowa, where they made their home.
He began working with The Boy Scouts of America in 1962. He made multiple trips accompanying the scouts to Philmont Scout Ranch and canoeing on the Boundary Waters. He was Scoutmaster for two troops and assisted 37 boys to attain the rank of Eagle Scout. He received the Silver Beaver Award, Scout Master's Key, Wood Badge Award, and Lamb Award in November 1987 by the Lutheran Council of United States of America. The Lamb Award is the highest award given in recognition of distinguished service to youth and the church through programs of civic youth-serving agencies such as Boy Scouts of America.
Robert studied with the Utilities Engineering Institute in Chicago and worked for the Ford Dealership in Cherokee for 32 years until it closed. He then opened his own business Van's Auto Body. He closed the business and retired in 1991. After his retirement, he opened Skateland, a roller skating rink which they operated until selling in 2008.
Robert was an avid fisherman, hunter, and enjoyed woodworking and machine work. He enjoyed spending time with family in Canada and Minnesota. He was a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 2253 in Cherokee, and life member of the National Rifle Association. He was also a member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church and served as Sunday school teacher, senior high counselor, church council, and usher.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Dolores Van Natta of Cherokee; son David and his wife Jean of Cherokee; daughter Karen and her husband Michael Curry of McCook Lake, SD; granddaughter Carli Curry of Colorado Springs, CO; granddaughter Kayla and her husband Amos Biederman of Sioux City, IA; and two great granddaughters, Raeley Lynn and Kinley Marie Biederman of Sioux City, IA. Also survived by his brother Clifford Van Natta of Sioux City, IA; sister Darlene Patten of Cherokee; sister Beverly and her husband Harold Heschke of Cherokee; sister-in-law Delores Van Natta of LeMars, IA; sister-in-law Linda Van Natta of Cherokee; sister-in-law Joyce and her husband James Loutsch of Akron, IA; several nieces, nephews, and three step grandsons and their families.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his in-laws Walter and Verna Schilling of LeMars, IA; his brother LuVerne Van Natta of Cherokee; brother Darrel Van Natta of LeMars, IA; sister-in-law Marion Van Natta of Sioux City, IA; brother-in-law Kenneth Patten of Cherokee; and grandchildren Heather and Christopher Van Natta of Cherokee.
Memorials may be directed to Cherokee Regional Hospice Care or Bethlehem Lutheran Church.
Funeral services will be held at 10:30 A.M. Saturday, September 20, 2014, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Cherokee.
Pastor Jean Morse
Visitation will begin at 2:00 P.M. Friday, with the family present from 5:00-7:00 P.M. Friday night at the funeral home. There will be a 7:00 P.M. prayer service Friday night following the visitation.
"Lift High The Cross"
"How Great Thou Art"
by the congregation
by Pastor Delmar and Zona Carlson
"Children of the Heavenly Father"
"A Mighty Fortress Is Our God"
Organist- Koreen Anderson
Oak Hill Cemetery