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Richard Lyle Van Auken

September 18, 1938 ~ December 2, 2018 (age 80)

Richard Lyle Van Auken of Pinnacle, NC and recently Advance, NC, known to friends as “Dick,” passed away Sunday, December 2, 2018 after a brave battle with COPD. Richard was born September 18, 1938 in Newton, NJ. As a boy, he attended school and worked on his parents’ dairy farm. Upon finishing high school, he was awarded a scholarship for wrestling to attend the University of Maryland. He was a three-time ACC Champion and nationally ranked. After receiving his bachelor’s degree in 1960, Richard worked for several large industries including Northrop Grumman, Brunswick, Exxon, Whitaker, MBB Messerschmitt (Germany) and Jepson Burns (now BE Aerospace). While working at Exxon Research and Engineering, Richard developed several products for which he held both U.S. and international patents. Other ventures included working on windshield development for NASA’s Space Shuttle Program and NATO fighter jet parts. In 1989, Richard left the corporate world and purchased an American Speedy Printing franchise. He worked as owner/operator until 2007 when he sold the franchise. He continued as a consultant until 2014. Richard had many interests and was always quite active. He made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ in the year 2000. He enjoyed studying the Bible and walked closely with the Lord for the remainder of his years. Richard is survived by his loving wife of 29 years, Elaine (Fleming) Van Auken; his three children, Pamela (Robert) Coakley of Harrisburg, PA; Gregory (Christine) Van Auken of Raleigh, NC; and Teresa (Paul) Bobo of Winston-Salem, NC; a sister, Judith (Robert) Lemon of Sumter, SC, plus six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents Lyle and Blanche Van Auken; a brother, Thomas Van Auken; and his first wife, Zelphia (Gentry) Van Auken. In lieu of a funeral service, the family will hold a private celebration of life in the Spring to honor his memory. Memorials may be made to: Solus Christus, PO Box 416, East Bend, NC 27018.

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