Eddie was born Feb. 13, 1937, at his grandparents’ (Herb and Bertha Blankenship’s) in Austin, Colorado, to Ada Campbell. His father Edward Campbell was drowned in the Sweetwater River in Idaho, where the young couple were working, the previous August.
Later in 1937 the young widow married John VanDenBerg; Eddie was given the VanDenBerg name at that time.
Eddie has three brothers – Dan (deceased) of Lakeview, Oregon; Gary of Verndale, Washington; and John of Cedaredge. He also has one sister: Nancy Selby of Delta.
Eddie graduated from Hotchkiss High School in 1955 and moved to Oregon to work in the plywood mills.
Eddie met Jill Stradley on Valentine’s Day 1954 and two years later on that same date, she became his wife. They enjoyed 63 years of married life, mostly spent in the North Fork Valley of Colorado, though there were a few years in eastern Kansas.
They were the parents of Loren (1956), Jeanette (Jan) (1958) and Larry LeRoy (Lee) (1959). Lee died on 11-11-11 from injuries sustained in an ATV accident.
Eddie worked at many jobs — construction, coal mining, lumberjacking, trucking, auto body repair and others. Refusing to be promoted out of his beloved UMWA (the miners’ union) to become a “company man” at the mines, he instead became a Federal Coal Mine Inspector. That job protecting miners from unsafe working conditions took him to Pittsburg, Kansas, for a few years but he was fortunate enough to be transferred back to his home in Delta County, where he remained the rest of his life.
Eddie had many interests, loved His Lord and loved the Sunday morning meetings. He also loved antiques, hunting, prospecting for gold and reading and reciting cowboy poetry.
He built a few homes with his brother, John, but his crowning achievement was the log home he built for Jill and where the couple lived for 42 years. He harvested the logs, milled them on his sawmill and did all the construction from top to bottom.
He was an accomplished mechanic, heavy equipment operator, welder, all-round handyman and gunsmith.
He was a great husband, a caring father and a friend to many, many people. He is survived by his wife, Jill VanDenBerg, of Rogers Mesa, Hotchkiss; his son, Loren, of Crawford; his daughter Jeanette (Jan) of Rogers Mesa and Portland, Oregon; his grandson Cyler of Hotchkiss; his granddaughters Celena Gaudern of Elkins, Arkansas, and Tess Kents of Bella Vista, Arkansas; his grandson Mikle Kokes and his four sons of Grand Junction; as well as the other six great-grandchildren: LaTeace Conley and Elizabeth of Fayetteville, Arkansas; John Butler of Bella Vista, Arkansas; and Stella, Minni and Spencer Gaudern of Elkins, Arkansas.
After a long, fulfilling and interesting life, Eddie’s final call came Oct. 3, 2019 at about 8:15 a.m. at HopeWest Hospice in Grand Junction. He had suffered a sudden, painless but shockingly rapid three month decline from brain cancer and died peacefully in his sleep just after Jill awakened in his room that morning.
His funeral will be 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Oct. 8, at Heritage Hall in the Delta County Fairgrounds in Hotchkiss with a luncheon following.
He will then be buried next to his youngest son, Lee, at the Garden of Memories in Crawford, Colorado.
Any memorial can be made to the Hotchkiss/Crawford Historical Society, 180 S. Second St., Hotchkiss, CO 81419 — with Jill Vandenberg.