Cover photo for Theron "Joe" Van Dyke's Obituary
Theron "Joe" Van Dyke Profile Photo
1941 Joe Van Dyke 2024

Theron "Joe" Van Dyke

October 1, 1941 — April 13, 2024

Theron “Joe” Van Dyke, 82, of Port Ewen, NY, passed away Saturday, April 13, 2024 at home. He was the eldest of eleven children of the late Vera (Garner) Van Dyke and the Honorable Leonard Van Dyke.
 
Joe was born on October 1, 1941 in Kingston, NY. He attended Kingston public schools and was a very active teen. He played center field for the volunteer fire department’s Babe Ruth Baseball League. Joe was known to be a pretty fast center fielder. He was also in a singing group called ‘The Cascades’. Joe assisted his parents with opening a family-owned business called The Chippy Joint. It was an establishment where local teens socialized and danced.
 
In the early 60’s, Joe’s home at 18 Mill Street became one of the centers for social and political justice. Along with his parents, Joe became very active in the growing civil rights movement. He was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and Congress of Racial Equality (CORE). Joe participated in demonstrations and was arrested for chaining himself to a U.S. Post Office Building, which also housed the FBI office, to protest the killing of activists in the south. Joe played a major role in getting his father elected to the 6th Ward in Kingston. His father became the first black Alderman in Kingston. In the 70’s he purchased the family record store ‘Mpangimia’ on Broadway. It gave his father joy until his last days on earth.
 
Joe met and fell in love with Martha “Marti” Tabakman and they married on June 1, 1963. They enjoyed weekly Sunday drives throughout New England. They chilled to the blues in search of the perfect lemon ice, onion soup, hot fudge sundae or Sunday Brunch. This is a practice that they continued for many years which led to 61 years of wedded bliss.
 
Joe worked for the Ulster County Highway Department for 40 years. During the 70’s, Joe was President of the Civil Service Employee’s Association (CSEA). In 1978, as a result of a contract dispute, Joe was almost arrested as the union went on strike, which is illegal, forcing him to hide out at the Holiday Inn for 2 weeks. Fortunately, his persistence prevailed and he was very successful in negotiating a union contract that ultimately resulted in higher grades and pay raises for employees. For over 20 years, Joe volunteered for the American Heart Association and the United Way. Twice a year, he collected during the “can” sale for the poor in his community. During the 70’s and 80’s he was very active in the campaigns for US Congressman Maurice Hinchey and Supreme Court Justice Michael Kavanaugh. In 1992, Joe was a delegate for President Bill Clinton and attended President Clinton’s inauguration. Joe was the driving force in the dedication of ‘Leonard Van Dyke Lane’, which was named after his father.
 
Joe is survived by his wife, Martha "Marti" Van Dyke of Port Ewen, his daughters, Annette Van Dyke, Denise Timbrouck and her husband Phil, and Ramona Gray, his grandchildren, Britni Roddey and her husband Kyle, Jennifer Gray, Lynsey Timbrouck and her wife Clarissa, Philip Timbrouck, III, Shelby Warren, Austin Warren, his great grandchildren, TJ Caserta, Madelyn Caserta, Parker Timbrouck, Henry Roddey, Charlotte Timbrouck, a great grandson on the way who will be Joe's namesake, his siblings, Richard Van Dyke, Douglas Van Dyke and his wife Gloria, Lanette Van Dyke, Reneé "Toot" Van Dyke, Jeffery Van Dyke and his wife Carol, Martin Van Dyke and his wife Tammi, Scott Van Dyke and his wife Michele, as well as many nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents, he is predeceased by his siblings, Leonard Van Dyke, Jr., Yvonne Spencer, and Larry Van Dyke, and his ever faithful cats, Mylo and Buddy.

Arrangements entrusted to Keyser Funeral & Cremation Service, Kingston, NY. Services will be held privately. For those who wish, contributions in Joe’s memory may be made to the Ulster County SPCA at www.UCSPCA.org or People’s Place at www.peoplesplace.org  A tribute for Joe can be found at www.KeyserFuneralService.com, where you may leave memories and expressions of sympathy for his family.

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