Alfred C. Van Milligen, 94, beloved husband, father & grandfather, retired accountant & executive, master story teller, computer guru, eternal student, and former army captain, passed away September 27, 2016, in Stonehill Care Center, Dubuque, IA.
Al was born on September 21, 1922 in Chicago, Illinois. He grew up in the Garfield Park neighborhood and attended St. Mel School (while working after school to pay his tuition and that of his brothers and sisters). After enlisting in the army in 1942, Al rose to the rank of Captain. He was stationed in the South Pacific during the war. There he commanded an artillery unit, eventually suffering a head injury, and after convalescing was assigned as communication officer on the island of New Guinea, responsible for receiving & relaying messages across the war zone. Also serving were the Signal Unit of the Women’s Army Corps, and among them was Pat Pienczykowski, Corporal. They had one secret date while on the island (officers and enlisted were not allowed to fraternize) but wasted no time getting to know one another once the war ended. He and Pat married in 1946 and he began an entry-level position at Cardox/Chemtron Corporation, Chicago. As a self-taught accountant, he worked his way up to Controller. The company was later sold to Liquid Air Corporation where Al was promoted to Vice President until his retirement.
Al was a devoted father and loving husband. Together, he and Pat raised six children in a two-bedroom house in Lansing, often more crowded with extended relatives. Family, near and far, was the main pillar of the Van Milligen home as was generosity and compassion.
In his later years, Al could be found volunteering at his local parish, St. Ann, playing bridge & pinochle, and holding court to any and all visitors from his favorite chair. He loved recalling tales and odd jokes from his life; he could trade stories for hours, leaping from one memory to the next with a remarkable fund of knowledge and keenness for detail, always colored by his hearty, throaty laughter, something of the boy embedded in it. Much the same as his favorite refrain, which he sang every morning with an Irish brogue he learned as a youth, “Oh, what a beautiful morning.” Al was a Life Member of the Knights of Columbus, the permanent Chair of the St Ann's School Finance Committee, and a volunteer at St Ann Church for more than 50 years. He was personally presented the Christifideles Award by Chicago Archdiocese Francis Cardinal George at Holy Name Cathedral, "In Recognition of Your Generous Service In the Life of the Church".
Al is survived by his loving wife of 70 years, Hedwig "Pat" Van Milligen, 6 children: Neal Van Milligen of Utica, Kentucky; James Van Milligen (Mary) of Wichita, Kansas; Tish Aguilar of Lansing; David Van Milligen (Kathy) of Pewaukee, Wisconsin; Joy Knollenberg (Terry) of Manito, Illinois, and Michael Van Milligen (Nancy) of Dubuque, IA, 14 Grandchildren, 26 Great Grandchildren, and 2 Great-Great Grandchildren.
Visitation will be directly at St. Ann Catholic Parish: 3010 Ridge Road, Lansing, IL 60438 on October 15 at 9:00 a.m. followed by a 10:00 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial and Interment Services at Assumption Cemetery of Glenwood, IL.
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