Florence (“Pete”) Ellen Van Dorn Rich
October 26, 1914 – May 16, 2014
Florence ("Pete") Ellen Van Dorn Rich, age 99, passed away quietly on Friday, May 16, 2014, in Orem, Utah, due to causes incident to age.
Pete was born October 26, 1914, near Craig, Colorado, the daughter of John Milo and Lily Della Van Dorn. Her family moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, while she was a young child. She graduated from East High School in Salt Lake City in 1932 and immediately thereafter found employment as a sales person in retail stores where she worked until she married Edward (“Ted”) A. E. Rich on June 28, 1937. They then moved to Schenectady, NY, where Ted began working as a Test Engineer for the General Electric Company, and Pete obtained employment with the Wallace Company, a retail department store in Schenectady.
Pete gave birth to four children in Schenectady. She was a marvelous homemaker in the raising of her children, and also hosted all the grandchildren for one summer each when they turned 12 years old. She and Ted took them all over the East and enjoyed a special week or two at Cape Cod almost every year. She and Ted also hosted two foreign exchange students for a school year each – Katsuhiko Kimura from Japan, and Angie Diaz from Chile. They traveled throughout the U.S. with their children while Ted was on business trips for G.E. A special memory was in 1997 when they (along with almost all of their descendants and spouses) celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary while spending several days on a houseboat on Lake Powell, Utah.
Pete made friends wherever she went, even during the last 4 months when she lived at Canyon Cove Assisted Living in Orem. On several occasions Pete provided care in her home for women in need of extended, round-the-clock assistance, even when her own children were still quite young. She quickly became acquainted with neighbors and other community members through activities such as garden club and bowling. Her beautiful flowering rock gardens and terraces around their home in West Hill were a great tribute to her gardening ability. She was an avid bowler for about 50 years. During her many years of league bowling she acquired many trophies attesting to her comparative excellence in that sport. Her bowling ball and well-worn shoes were finally retired about four years ago.
Pete participated actively in school, church and community organizations. She was active in PTA and hosted Primary in her home in Scotia before there was an LDS meeting place in the Schenectady area. Missionaries lived in their home for many years. At the age of 89 Pete was baptized a member of the LDS Church by her husband. In 1969 Pete began 46 years of service as a dedicated and faithful volunteer for the blood collection arm of the Red Cross.
Pete is survived by her husband of nearly 77 years, Edward Rich; four children: Edward Rich Jr. (Morrissa) of Salt Lake City, UT; Katherine Rosenvall (James) of Provo, UT; David Rich (Lynn) of Temecula, CA; Lorraine Davis of American Fork, UT; 24 grandchildren; 58 great-grandchildren; one sister: Georgean Ott of Spokane, WA.
Preceded in death by her parents, sisters Mary Calton and Fern Hesselberg and brothers Carroll and John (“Jack”) Van Dorn.
Funeral services will be held in the American Fork 30th Ward building, 261 North 900 East, American Fork, UT, at 11:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 28, 2014. Friends may call from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, May 27, 2014, at Anderson & Sons Mortuary, 49 East 100 North in American Fork, and between 9:45 and 10:45 a.m. at the American Fork 30th Ward building just prior to the funeral service. Interment will be in the Salt Lake City Cemetery.
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