Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877

Rick Van Tine


February 13, 2020

Rick Van Tine

Rick Van Tine

On Thursday, February 6, 2020, Rickey (Rick) Lee Van Tine, loving husband and father of two, passed away unexpectedly at Holy Family Hospital in Spokane, Washington, from sepsis due to a staph infection. He was 65 years old.

Rick was born May 14, 1954, in Spokane. He spent his entire life in the Palouse region of Washington, and grew up on a farm outside of Colfax. He attended the local elementary and high school there, graduating in the class of 1972. Rick excelled in sports, especially football, and played on the 1971 State Champion team. After high school, he attended college at Eastern Washington University in Cheney, where he competed on the Eagle's track team. Besides being an athlete, Rick was known for being the life of the party.

Shortly after college, Rick met Stephanie Ragon and they married in 1980. They returned to Colfax to make their home and start a family. After the death of his father in 1981, he left his job to run the family farm. Rick and Stephanie raised their two daughters on the farm and lived there for 20 years before moving into Colfax. Rick spent the second half of his career working for Arrow Machinery, Colfax Grange Supply, and retired from the Washington State Department of Transportation this past December.

Rick had many great loves in his life. He enjoyed tinkering on motorcycles and riding with "the gang." His passion for riding took him and Stephanie on trips to Idaho, Montana, Oregon, South Dakota, and Wyoming, with multiple new rides planned for this summer. Rock n' roll music, reading and expanding his knowledge, Native American history, and traveling the United States were interests of Rick's. Some of his favorite trips were to Colorado, South Carolina, California, Hawaii, and Tennessee. He was a fan of Colfax Bulldogs athletics and students; so much so he got a part time job driving bus for the teams and events. Conveniently, this amplified the amount of time he was able to socialize and chat with the coaches, community members, and especially all the kids. He is described by many as being exceptionally caring, genuinely interested in others, and fiercely loyal. Besides his many friends, some of his favorite guys were John Wayne, Elvis Presley, and occasionally Jack Daniel. But everyone knew Rick had no greater loves than his wife and daughters. He was incredibly proud of his two girls and the educations he helped them achieve. The joy he got from his three grandchildren was immeasurable and to say he adored them is an understatement.

We hope all who knew Rick were touched by his kindness and remember how he ALWAYS had time for a "quick" visit. He loved his community and will eternally live on in the Palouse soil.

Rick is preceded in death by his father, Robert Van Tine, mother, Marilyn Miller Van Tine, and father in-law, Frank Jackson. He is survived by his wife, Stephanie, two daughters, Kendra Zupan and Kelsie Willoughby, their husbands, Mike Zupan and Andrew Willoughby, three grandchildren, Anna, Stella, and Milo Zupan, brother, Ron Van Tine, mother in-law Sandra Jackson, sister in-law, Renee Ragon, and brother in-law, Dan Bruland. A funeral service will be held on Saturday, February 15, 2020, at the Colfax High School at 11 a.m. A private interment will be at the Bethel Cemetery in Steptoe. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Colfax Schools Foundation, 223 North Main Street, Colfax, Washington, 99111. On-line guest book is at http://www.bruningfuneralhome.com

Bruning Funeral Home of Colfax is in charge of the arrangements.


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