John Raymond Van Dyke, age 86, passed away peacefully October 6, 2021 in Tallahassee, Florida. Born in Normal, Illinois to Fred Henry Van Dyke and Elizabeth Anne Koeller, he grew up in Dwight, Illinois. He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Donald and Norman; sister, Dorothy; and his first wife of 50 years, Jean Andrews. He leaves behind a wife, Carol Doolittle Rieuf-Van Dyke; seven children: Michelle, Kevin, Christopher, Keith, Kurt, Melissa and Kendal; four step-children: Clarence, Richard, Rita and Thomas; 20 grandchildren; and seven great-grandchildren. John grew up in a small Midwestern town. He was part of Boy Scout Troop 77 in Dwight and earned the rank of Second Class Scout before the Troop dissolved. He played the marching snare drum as a member of the Dwight Township High School Marching Band long before he was of high school age. Waiting out winters meant plenty of indoor time. John turned his spare time into the study of electronics that would serve both his hobby and professional career. He earned an amateur radio license at the age of 20 and built increasingly sophisticated rigs and antennas, sometimes from a Heathkit box and sometimes from scratch. At the age of 21, John enlisted in the Army, trained at Fort Leonard Wood, and was honorably discharged. He attended the University of Illinois and earned a Bachelor of Science in Education from Illinois State University. He worked for the Blackstone Theatre, Caterpillar Tractor, General Motors, General Electric, three radio stations and two universities. On John’s first day of work at the Streator, Illinois radio station, WIZZ, he met Jean Anne Andrews. She described John to her parents as “you won’t believe the geek we hired at the radio station today.” Love at first sight led to a wedding in 1958 and a marriage that lasted 50 years. By 1967, John was grounded in family life with a wife, five kids, a steady job and a house. However, he sought to do something greater than himself and was hired by General Electric to work on the Apollo program. He recalled watching a launch from the VAB, three miles from the launch pad. He said you could still hear the sound through earmuffs and sense it through your steel-toed shoes while it resonated in your chest. You did more than watch a Saturn V launch, he said, you felt it. The success of the Apollo program was quickly followed with layoffs. Driving a Volkswagen Beetle across the United States for interviews, John landed a job at FSU. Using his proficiency for planning, schedules and budgets, and the ingenuity for building things from scratch, John spent 29 years building a significant portion of the audio-visual systems at FSU including instructors’ cameras and overhead projectors in most classrooms, an intercom at the Morcom Aquatics Center, and speakers at Doak Campbell stadium. John practiced his Catholic faith, making sure that the family attended weekly Mass together, insisting on a blessing at every meal, and enrolling his kids at Blessed Sacrament school, now known as Trinity Catholic School. When his wife Jean had cancer, they attended daily Mass and weekly Adoration together, where they prayed the rosary. John became a widower with Jean’s passing and he traveled back to Illinois to visit and reminisce. There, he found his high school sweetheart Carol, herself a widow. Carol joined John in Florida and they were married in a small ceremony at St. Thomas More Co-Cathedral. John Raymond Van Dyke honored us by the manner in which he lived his life. We will never forget him, nor the last time we saw him. He has waved goodbye and slipped the surly bonds of earth to touch the face of God. John’s family is grateful for the help from Big Bend Hospital in preserving John’s dignity as he completed his final days. We’re also encouraged by the STEM teachings at the Challenger Center, nurturing the next generation of mathematicians, engineers, scientists and astronauts. Contributions in John’s name to either organization ( or would be a fitting tribute to John. A Mass of Christian Burial for John will be held in Tallahassee in St. Thomas More Co-Cathedral at noon on November 13. The family will receive visitors at a reception immediately following the Mass. Final interment will be at 3 p.m. that afternoon in MeadowWood Memorial Park.