Vandora was famous for arriving early. On May 7, 2019, she made her way to heaven earlier than expected. By now, everything there is organized in 3-ring binders, and she has launched projects to raise funds for a cause or to beautify the community. We know this because of her lifelong passion for community service, joy for making all feel welcomed, and non-stop work ethic.
A memorial service will be held on Monday, June 10, at Incarnation Lutheran Church, 4880 Hodgson Road, Shoreview, MN 55126. Visitation will be at 10 a.m., service at 11 a.m. with lunch reception to follow. Memorials to UMN Foundation: Clovia Legacy Scholarship Fund (9 Coffey Hall, 1420 Eckles Ave, St Paul MN 55108) or Incarnation Lutheran Church.
She is survived by her sons, Erik (Joan) and Troy (Joel Raney); grandsons, Evan (Emma Graham) and Noah; sisters, Janet Radloff (Gary) and Frances Passmore (Gary); nieces, nephew, cousins and her Clovia sorority sisters.
She is preceded in death by her loving husband of 50 years, Albert; and her mother and step-father, Adelyn and Joseph Pierson.
Born June 10, 1935 in Roulette, N.D., Van grew up in Isle, Minnesota. After graduating from the University of Minnesota, she worked as a high school teacher, then applied her organizational and leadership skills to charity, the arts, women’s education and scholarships. In Minnesota, she helped found: Goldstein Museum of Design, Oak Hill Montessori School, Pilgrim House U-U Fellowship, Gallery 96 Art Center, La Leche League, and many more. In Colorado, she was the driving force behind reinvigorating the Museum of Art in Fort Collins, Colo., and launching the Gustafson Gallery at CSU. For this work, she received the Rotary Club’s Service Above Self Award. Van was most comfortable working behind the scenes: always quick to recognize others’ contributions and deflect the spotlight from herself.
Her most treasured work was with her sorority Beta of Clovia to which she dedicated thousands of volunteer hours, ensuring other young women also got the most from their education. The Clovia House dining room was named for her - the most meaningful honor she received.