RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Kenneth J. Van Hulla, youngest son of Joseph A. Van Hulla & Elma M. (Barry) Van Hulla, both deceased, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012, in Riverside at the age of 82. His oldest son Michael Van Hulla and daughter-in-law Karen Van Hulla were at his side. His health declined rapidly after a fall in June.
Kenneth, known as Kenny or Ken, lived on a farm in Niagara until he graduated from Niagara High School in 1947. Ken always loved Niagara and visited family who lived there often during his life. Wherever he lived, he always had a garden and enjoyed sharing his produce with neighbors. He also loved hiking and fishing, especially in the Porcupine Mountain Wilderness, with his brother and sisters, their children, and later, grandchildren.
After high school, Kenneth attended St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas in 1953, and received his bachelor of science degree in meteorology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1956. He attended Texas A & M University in 1957 and University of Chicago in 1962, where he furthered his education in meteorology and math, and University of California, Riverside in 1980 to obtain his teaching credentials.
He served in the U.S. Air Force for 31 years, including 10 years of overseas duty and two tours of duty in Vietnam as a meteorologist, staff weather officer and daily command briefer and commander of three different units. He received numerous awards, including the Air Force Bronze Star, Meritorious Service Medal, and two commendations. He retired as a lieutenant colonel at March Air Force Base in Riverside, Calif. in 1979.
In July 1955 he married Patricia M. Hager of Denmark. They traveled extensively during his career in the Air Force with their four children, including living in England and Spain. He will be remembered forever by his oldest daughter Rhonda K. Van Hulla Fry and her husband Dennis W. Fry of Oregon, his oldest son Michael J. Van Hulla and his wife Karen M. (Brees) Van Hulla of Riverside, his youngest son Curtis J. Van Hulla and his wife Shizue (Sasa) Van Hulla, and youngest daughter Maria M. Van Hulla Elkins and her husband David E. Elkins. Kenneth is survived by Patricia M. (Hager) Van Hulla of Ohio and his sisters Alice Mross of Cambridge, Wis. and Marie Oja of Niagara. Kenneth also has 10 grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his sister, Louis Frye; brother Joseph Van Hulla; and sisters, Norma Gawlik and Teresa Sears.
After Kenneth retired from the U.S. Air Force, he taught fifth grade at Clairemont Christian School in San Diego, Calif. for eight years where he was well-liked by students, parents and school staff.
He enjoyed traveling in his motorhome. He lived in San Diego and in Sumner, Wash. He was an avid Green Bay Packer fan, complete with blanket, hat, and T-shirt during games.
He liked having garage sales, playing scrabble and pinochle, and was lucky at bowling. He was always generous to his family, including sending money home to his parents after he joined the Air Force. He was a faithful Christian all his life and was always helping others in need.
He will be laid to rest at Riverside National Cemetery with full military honors.