Thanks for your interest in the trips that Betty and I have enjoyed over the years. Clicking on a highlighted trip to the left will bring up a series of stories about that trip.
Currently 30 trips (300 chapters) are available. Many of these trips have been published before but we add them here for archival purposes. Betty died January 23, 2008. I don't know yet whether I will continue trips without her.
We have traveled the world and we have learned. This website is an attempt to share our adventures and our thoughts.
We will appreciate your comments.
Robert R. "Bob" Van Leer, 81, of Gold Beach, died Friday, March 6, 2009, at Curry General Hospital in Gold Beach of complications from chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
He was a 52-year resident of Gold Beach. He moved to Gold Beach in 1956 when he and his wife, the late Betty Van Leer, purchased the Curry County Reporter.
The Van Leers published the Reporter for 41 years before passing it on to daughter and son-in-law Molly and Jim Walker, now of Salem.
He was born in St. Louis, Mo., Aug. 28, 1927.
Because of a lack of work during the Depression, his family moved to an unoccupied farmhouse on property owned by an uncle, and Mr. Van Leer started school in a one-room schoolhouse without the benefit of electricity or indoor plumbing at school or home. When he was in the second grade, the family moved back to St. Louis.
He enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1945 at the age of 17. He was shipped to the Philippines and assigned to a landing ship, LSM 11. He was reassigned to a troop transport, U. S. Gilliam, APA 57, which was to be a target ship in atom bomb tests held at Bikini Atoll in the central Pacific in 1946, after which he was ordered home for discharge.
He attended Washington University in St. Louis and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree.
He then entered the University of Missouri Journalism School at Columbia, Mo. There he met Betty Lee Templeman of Cecilia, Ky. They were married Feb. 16, 1952, in Elizabethtown, Ky., and celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary in 2007.
Bob was a specialist in newspaper ad sales and worked for dailies in Evansville, Ind., Sterling, Ill., and Eureka, Calif., before buying the Reporter.
He was long active in professional and civic activities. He was president of the statewide Oregon Newspaper Publishers Association (ONPA), 1969-1970, and received the association's highest honor for a working journalist, the Amos E. Voorhies Award, in 1992. In July 2008, Bob was inducted into the Oregon Newspaper Hall of Fame, joining the others who are honored at Allen Hall at the University of Oregon. The award was presented by his son-in-law, Jim Walker, president of ONPA, 2007-2008, representing the Yamhill County News-Register in McMinnville.
He served on both elective and appointive civic boards over many years including Curry Health District, Gold Beach Port Commission, Curry County Fair Board, Port of Gold Beach Budget Committee, Gold Beach Rotary Club and Gold Beach Chamber of Commerce where he served as president, as well as others.
He is survived by four daughters and sons-in-law, Sherry and Scott Wills, Amy and Doug Bornemeier, Sally and Dave Shuey, all of Portland, and Molly and Jim Walker of Salem. He is also survived by six grandchildren and two granddaughters-in-law, Rob and Rebecca Johnson of Caledon, Ontario, Canada, and Chris and Emily Johnson of Medford (sons of Molly Walker); Jordan and Maya Shuey and Jon and Anna Bornemeier; three great-grandchildren, Travis and Caleb Johnson (sons of Chris Johnson), and Sadie Johnson (daughter of Rob Johnson); two sisters, June Pallardy and Ruth Chiodini, both of St. Louis.
Betty preceded Bob in death Jan. 23, 2008.
Bob and Betty traveled extensively, visiting every continent except Antarctica. Some of Bob's travel writings can be viewed at www.bobvanleer.com.
A memorial service will be at 2 p.m., Saturday, March 14, at Bethany Lutheran Church in Gold Beach. The Rev. Tim Brueckner will officiate.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Curry Health Foundation, P.O. Box 1274, Gold Beach, OR 97444 or the Oregon Newspapers Foundation, 7150 S.W. Hampton, Suite 111, Portland, OR 97223.