Former Union Mayor Glenn Van Leer, 84, passed away Friday, Nov. 17.
Van Leer served as mayor for 22 years. He was first elected to public office in April 1977 as a Union alderman.
He served as Ward 1 alderman until 1985, and then in July of 1985, Mayor Charlie Parent took the position of city administrator and Van Leer was appointed to complete Parent’s term.
The following year he was elected mayor.
While Van Leer was in office, he witnessed the relocation and widening of U.S. Highway 50, the construction of the Union Splash-N-Swimplex, the completion of Independence Drive and a downtown beautification project.
Van Leer was a lifelong member of Zion United Church of Christ in Union.
He also belonged to the American Legion Post 297, where he has served as past commander and chaplain.
Van Leer was a longtime member of the Union Chamber of Commerce and Municipal Government, a member of the Masonic Lodge since 1954 and was a past member of the Union Jaycees.
He also had a hand in organizing the Union Girls Softball Association, the Rainbow Activity Center for people with disabilities, where he served as a board member, and the Autumn Hill State School.
In 1987, Van Leer received an award for his efforts in promoting parks and recreation in the community, and the following year, he received Union’s Distinguished Service Award.
Van Leer was presented with the Union Area Chamber of Commerce’s Long Haul Award, a lifetime service award, in 2001.
In 2006, Van Leer received the East-West Gateway Lifetime Achievement in Governmental Service Award.
The following year he was presented with the Missouri Municipal League (MML) Distinguished Service Award for “making outstanding contributions to the MML.”
Van Leer served on the MML Finance and Taxation Committee for several years, including five years as chairman.
He retired in 2007.
Van Leer was born Sept. 3, 1933, on a farm near Beaufort, off East Casco Road, where his father was born in 1900.
He started school in 1939 in a one-room school called Jeffriesburg Schoolhouse. He was only at the school for a year when his family moved to Union.
Van Leer attended Central Elementary School for three years before moving back to the Beaufort farm. He returned to Jeffriesburg School where he graduated from the eighth grade.
Van Leer then attended Union High School where he graduated in 1951. It was at UHS that Van Leer met Dixie Schaefferkoetter, whom he was married to for over 60 years.
Dixie Van Leer passed away earlier this year.
Funeral services for Glenn Van Leer were held Tuesday, Nov. 21, at Zion United Church of Christ, Union.
Burial was in the Zion church cemetery.
Visitation was held Monday, from 3 to 8 p.m., at Oltmann Funeral Home, Union.
Mr. Van Leer is survived by three daughters, Pam Klenke and husband Hank, Beaufort, Cindy Groenke and husband Dale, Beaufort, and Marcie Van Leer, Union; one brother, one sister, 12 grandchildren; other relatives and many friends.