ONEONTA – Landin Irving Van Buren, 94, who fought in the Battle of the Bulge during World War II and later rose to vice principal at Oneonta Junior High School laid down his working tools on Sept. 25, 2017.
Landin was born May 3, 1923, in Oneonta, where he lived his entire life except for the World War II years. He graduated from Oneonta High School in 1941, and in the fall of that year entered Hartwick College as a chemistry major.
In 1943, along with most of the young men he knew, he enlisted in the Army. He received medic training at Camp Pickett, Va., studied engineering under the Army Specialized Training Program at Lehigh University, and received basic training at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, before joining the 84th Infantry Division’s 335th Regiment as part of the European Theater of World War II.
Starting as a private, he received a field promotion to staff sergeant and saw combat starting at the Siegfried Line, through the Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany. His unit participated in the Battle of the Bulge at Marche, liberated the Ahlem Concentration Camp, and met up with Soviet allies at the Rhine River, where hostilities ended with the Victory in Europe surrender.
He remained in Europe for the rest of the year as part of the occupying army until his discharge in January, 1946. He was awarded two Bronze Star Medals as well as various other honors and distinctions during his service. Though he survived, the war took an emotional toll that affected his entire life.
Upon his honorable discharge from the Army, Landin finished his degree in chemistry from Hartwick College in 1947. He then joined his father, Carl, as partner in the family business, Van Buren’s Food Store on River Street, which closed in 1965.
On Aug. 18, 1946, he married Louise Anton Bowen, and together they raised their family. In 1962, Landin became a math and science teacher, first at Charlotte Valley Central School, and later Oneonta Junior High School. He was promoted to vice principal and school administrator while simultaneously studying at SUNY Oneonta, earning a Master’s of Science Degree in 1969. He retired in 1986.
Throughout his lifetime, Landin was active in numerous civic and community affairs including Raised Master Mason in Oneonta Lodge No. 466, Free and Accepted Masons on June 7, 1954. He served as Master, District Deputy Grand Master, Treasurer, and Trustee. He was also Past High Priest, Oneonta Chapter No. 277, Royal Arch Masons; Past Governor, United York Rite College No. 127; and Past Patron, Martha Chapter No. 116, Order of the Eastern Star. He was a member of Otsego Commandery No.76, Knights Templar; Red Cross of Constantine, and honorary Order of the Purple Cross. He was a member of the Sons of the American Revolution. He served as president of the Oneonta Rotary Club, Commander of American Legion Post 259, and was a life-long member, Treasurer and Trustee of the First United Methodist Church.
In 1986, Landin and Louise built their dream house on Herrick Hill Road. They moved to The Plains Retirement Community in 2011 and recently Landin moved to the Masonic Care Community in Utica where he suffered a severe stroke. He was brought home to Oneonta for his final days.
Landin was known by all who know him for his dry humor, shy smile, friendly handshake, and unfailing integrity. He always loved having a dog.
The family has many fond memories of gatherings and activities, especially at the Bolton family camp on Goodyear Lake and at the cabins and campground at Gilbert Lake. Landin and Louise enjoyed square dancing and golfing together. Especially in their retirement, Louise and Landin traveled extensively throughout the United States in their RV, taking part in many Elder Hostel programs and Landin’s 84th Infantry reunions, culminating in a tour of the European battlefields in 1984.
Contributions in memory of Landin’s life can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association of Otsego County, Catskill Hospice, or the Masonic Medical Research Laboratory and Cardiac Institute in Utica.
Calling hours will be 3-5 pm Saturday, Oct. 14, 2017, at Lewis, Hurley & Pietrobono Funeral Home, 51 Dietz St, Oneonta.
A Masonic Funeral Service and a Methodist Funeral Service will be at 2:30 pm on Oct. 15, 2017, at First United Methodist Church, 66 Chestnut St, Oneonta.
Interment with military honors by American Legion Post 259 will follow at Glenwood Cemetery. Following interment refreshments will be served at the Masonic Temple, 322 Main St., Oneonta.
Expressions of sympathy may be sent to, www.lhpfuneralhome.com