Cover photo for Oliver Van Tassell's Obituary
Oliver Van Tassell Profile Photo
1943 Oliver 2022

Oliver Van Tassell

December 16, 1943 — May 31, 2022

OLIVER EARL VAN TASSELL was born on December 16, 1943, to Earl and Phyllis (Bair) Van Tassell in St. Paul, Minnesota. Oliver spent his early years living in a house on Pig’s Eye Island in the Mississippi River near South St. Paul. He remembered his mother rowing them across the river to school and living in the upstairs when the water levels rose, flooding their home. They moved off the island when the last flood destroyed their home. They had several residences in St. Paul. He was baptized in 1954, at the Union Gospel Mission in St. Paul. Oliver married Karlene Coleman and they moved to California for a couple of years. Together they had two children, Edward and Shauna. Oliver and Karlene later divorced. He then moved to New Ulm where he met and married Mary Laway. To this union a son, Ollie Jr., was born. They later divorced. In 1973, Oliver was united in marriage to Sandra Joan Hansen in Tyler, Minnesota. Together they had three children, Carrie, Chris, and Collin. Oliver was a jack of all trades throughout his life. For a time, he owned a watch repair shop specializing in grandfather clocks and would make many house calls to repair family heirlooms. He was also a truck driver, maintenance person, meat cutter, customer service representative for Greyhound, CarCo repairman and car collector for insurance salvaged vehicles, and an associate at Kmart and Super America. When not working at a formal job, he stayed busy with other projects including completely gutting, rewiring, plumbing, and sheet-rocking the home he shared with Sandra in Luxemburg, Minnesota. He also rebuilt the “Texas Room” addition at their camper and winter home in Mission, Texas. Oliver loved woodworking. He restored or reimagined antique furniture for Rusty Pick Antiques. He built trains for his grandsons out of scrap wood. He also designed and built cribbage boards and other wooden games. He was a pool shark. He played on 2 pool leagues in Texas. Oliver was a man of faith, being a member of Immanuel Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tyler and Petra Lutheran Church in Sauk Rapids, Minnesota. He had an appreciation of the outdoors and considered fishing, golfing, and camping time well spent. His quick wit and unique sense of humor will truly be missed.

Retirement proved to be too boring for Oliver to consider. After becoming tired from battling his illness, he entered hospice care at the Avera Sunrise Manor in Tyler. He passed away there on Tuesday, May 31, 2022, at the age of 78 years, five months, and 15 days.


Oliver will be remembered by his wife, Sandra of Tyler; children, Edward (Carla) of St. Could, Minnesota, Shauna (Charles) Witte of North St. Paul, Minnesota, Ollie Jr. (Lisa) of Buffalo, Minnesota, Carrie (Jeremy) Obright of Ashby, Minnesota, Christopher (Corrine) of St. Cloud, and Collin (Kendra Berge) of Foley, Minnesota; 10 grandchildren, Joe, Josh, Emily, Kallie, Natalie, Dustin, Evan, Elise, Remi Jo, and Corbin; and two great-grandchildren, Dominick and Ryker; siblings, Joy Ketcham of Cushing, Wisconsin, Robert of St. Paul, and Sandra Jean (Gordy) of Mendota Heights, Minnesota. He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters, Melodye and Linda; and brother, Matthew.

To send flowers to the family in memory of Oliver Van Tassell, please visit our flower store.

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Friday, July 15, 2022

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

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Friday, July 15, 2022

Starts at 7:00 pm (Central time)

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