Stephen R. Van Galder, Janesville, WI (1947-2014)
June 4, 1947 - January 23, 2014
Stephen R. Van Galder, age 66, of Janesville, died Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014, at home. He was born on June 4, 1947, in Janesville, the son of Sam and Phyllis (Hale) Van Galder. Steve graduated from Janesville High School in 1965, and UW- Whitewater in 1969, where he was a member of the Warhawk football team and served as a President of Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity. A Janesville resident all his life, he married Suzanne Sullivan on June 5, 1971, in Janesville. Steve was a member of Morning Rotary, the United Motor Coach Association and other motor coach organizations. He served on many Boards of Directors to include: Wisconsin Motor Coach Association, Mercy Hospital, Johnson Bank, and The Janesville Country Club. Steve was inducted into the Janesville Sports Hall of Fame, a recipient of The University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Distinguished Alumni Award as well as the University’s Director of Athletics Award of Excellence. Steve's father and mother started Van Galder Bus Co. with one cab and one school bus in 1947. Steve and his older brother, David, worked there while growing up and eventually took over the “wheels on the bus.” Steve, later, became sole owner and his expansion efforts included motor coach buses for tours expanding across the U.S. and later daily service to O'Hare International Airport. Steve sold the company to Coach USA in 1999 but remained on as president.
Steve was an amazing man, loving husband, father, grandfather, son and devoted friend to many. He passionately looked forward to his 7 a.m. tee times with his buddies every weekend till the snow would fly and sometimes after. He enjoyed solving the world’s problems and athletic events with his breakfast group at the Wedge Inn. He was an avid reader, Packer and Badger fan and loved listening to Roy Orbison. Traveling with his family was important to him. Those times were times he would leave the office “at the office.” His favorite destinations were Maui, HI, Sanibel Island, FL, and Nagawicka Lake, Delafield, WI. He took great pride in caddying for his son, Sam’s, many golf tournaments and traveling with his daughter, Sara, across the country to her equestrian events. His newest joy in his life was his 20-month-old grandson, Graham.
Steve is survived by his high school sweetheart and wife of 43 years, Suzanne Van Galder; a son, Sam (fiancé, Emily Diece) Van Galder; a daughter, Sara (Nathan) Miller; his mother, Phyllis Van Galder; a grandson, Graham Miller, all of Janesville; sisters-in-law, Lana Van Galder and her daughters, Arra (Ladel) Van Galder-Cass and Leah (Joe) Lidbury; Jeri (John) Torpy and her daughters, Jodi (Eric) Lathrop and Jennifer (Doug) Fondriest. Preceding Steve in death were his father, Sam; his brother, David Van Galder; and his father and mother-in-law, Vincent and Josephine Sullivan.
Services and a Celebration of Steve’s Life will be held on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2014, at the JANESVILLE COUNTRY CLUB from 5 until 8 p.m., with personal remembrance stories beginning at 6:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Heart Association of Wisconsin, UW-Whitewater Athletic Department or the Janesville YMCA. SCHNEIDER APFEL SCHNEIDER & SCHNEIDER FUNERAL HOME AND CREMATORY is assisting the family. For online obituary and registry: www.schneiderfuneraldirectors.com