Dr. Flavia Van Dyke rememberedBY CHUCK TUCK | JOURNAL REPORTER
Life-time Lake Stevens resident lives
on through her music
As the guests sat in the church, some looked around for familiar faces, while other’s sat quietly perhaps with thoughts of their friend Dr. Van Dyke.
At precisely 11:00 a.m., Reverend Lewis Benson stood before many and welcomed everyone to a celebration of life.
“We are here for a celebration of life for a grand lady,” said Benson.
Followed by an invocation and hymn, “Nearer, My God, to Thee,” that resonated throughout the church with the piano and voice scarrying on strongly.
Close friends Bruce and Ellen Kennaugh, spoke of the years with Dr. Van Dyke, and how they remembered her telling them of her youth.
One recollection which Bruce mentioned was a time in Wisconsin during Dr. Van Dyke’s youth when a Hollywood talent scout spoke with her parents regarding acting, but her parents didn’t want that.
Perhaps this might have been a missed calling; adding, “It was before Shirley Temple.”
He also recalled more recent memories of Dr. Van Dyke and her 1965 Chevrolet Impala Fastback that everyone wanted to buy.
Bruce said, that Dr. Van Dyke would ask him to drive her in the Impala and go out for a bite to eat; and sure enough, someone would hand her a business card of sorts asking her to remember them when she’s ready to sell the car.
“She still has the car,” said Bruce.
He paused for a moment; and said, “I’m going to miss Flavia’s vitality...and twinkle in her eyes.”
It became more than obvious how much Dr. Van Dyke affected people and their lives in her 97 years of living.
A show of raised hands filled the air when Bruce asked how many are former piano student’s of Dr. Van Dyke’s.
With a quick glance about the room, it looked like over half in attendance were past piano students who were inspired by Dr. Van Dyke, and her love for music, and passion for the piano.
A letter written by a former student Randy Adams was read by Bruce, and spoke of the love Dr. Van Dyke had for music.
This love is what Adams said kept him coming back for lessons once a week, every week for nine years.
“She taught me a greater lesson than I knew,” said Adams in his letter.
Dr. Van Dyke gave her first paid piano lesson to her grade school teacher in 1921, and continued to give lessons until she was 95 years of age.
During her career as a teacher, she gave about 100 student piano recitals.
In the 1920’s Dr. Van Dyke had the pleasure of playing during silent movies at the local Lake Stevens movie theater owned by the Marquardt family.
Opening her own piano studio in the fall of 1927 with three students, she soon topped 67 students.
At one time, Van Dyke had her studio above what is now known as Jimmy Z’s in Everett.
Her accolades in music prompted a special certificate from Olympia allowing her to teach band and orchestra in any Washington State school having no regular music teacher.
Dr. Van Dyke did more than just music; she was instrumental in a group which was urging Hewlett-Packard to move to the west area of Lake Stevens.
She also had a certificate supporting “Kids Oasis” and Lake Stevens community playgrounds.
Dr. Van Dyke was also a strong believer in the benefits of chiropractic care.
Having graduated from Palmer College of Chiropractics in Davenport, IA in 1947, she became a life long advocate of the chiropractic profession.
It wasn’t until 1995 that the Washington State Department of Health recognized Dr. Van Dyke’s activities and contributions in chiropractic care, and honored her with an Honorary Chiropractic License.
A close friend and fellow chiropractor Dr. Darlene Castle came to know Dr. Van Dyke as an amazing and gifted individual.
“It amazes me how many lives Flavia seemed to lead,” said Dr. Castle.
Dr. Castle also spoke of the incredible undertakings which Dr. Van Dyke accomplished as a woman during her time.
“Many of her endeavors were extremely unusual for a woman born in her era, said Dr. Castle, adding, “I think the greatest compliment I can give her is that she was extremely proud of and happy with the life she made for herself.”
“She didn’t “make the best of” her life. She made her life the best,” Dr. Castle said.
As the hymn “He the Pearly Gates Will Open” was sung, and after the closing, everyone was joined together for another moment of remembrance as they glanced and read the memories of Dr. Van Dyke in the Fellowship Hall.
A quote found by Ellen which was written and signed by Dr. Van Dyke read, “Truth need never hang its head, but it does have to walk in the shadows sometimes.”