Van Tassell, Frederick Edward

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Colonel Frederick Edward Van Tassell, of Riner, passed away peacefully on Friday, May 31, 2013. Fred was born on October 10, 1918, in Oakland, Calif.

In high school, he was a zealous equestrian and a talented artist aspiring to become a commercial artist. He also became first violinist in the Junior Oakland Symphony. A member of the California National Guard Cavalry from 1936 to 1940, he enlisted with the 7th Division in Monterey, California and rose through the ranks rapidly to become the youngest Lieutenant Colonel in the United States Army as advisor to the Chinese Nationalist Army. During his tenure as a career officer, he attained the rank of full Colonel and became the assistant director of counter- intelligence at the pentagon, senior intelligence officer in the Panama Canal Zone for USSOUTHCOM, and a director of intelligence in post-war Europe. Upon return to the United States, he retired and revealed a talent as a realtor for several years.

Among his many interests were a love of history, particularly the Civil War, gardening, and the company of friends and family. He loved all animals and there was always a beloved family pet throughout his life.

Fred was preceded in death by his wife of 43 years, Dema Louise Hughes; his father and mother, John Edward Van Tassell and Vernie Edith Rowe; and his sister June Suber. He is survived by his wife of 22 years, Kathryn Agnew Van Tassell; sons, Gregory and Roger; daughter, Marianne; grandsons, Dorian, Christopher, and Maxwell; granddaughter, Jenica Davidson and husband, Ryan; and great-granddaughter, Emelynn Davidson.

A Memorial Service to celebrate and remember his life will be held at 1 p.m. on Saturday, June 15, 2013, at the Maberry Funeral Home Chapel in Floyd with Pastor Stan Hawkins officiating. Online condolence may be made by visiting