|In Memory of
Jerry Van Loan
Words by Bill Kotz|
Whenever I think of "Tiny" Van Loan, I always think of his sharp mind,
unbelievable sense of humor, and his very quick and caustic wit.
I knew Tiny from the occasions
when I attended elementary school in Clear Lake and when we were members of the Class of '57. However,
I really got to know Tiny when I attended Mason City Junior College and Drake University.
at MCJC to play football (and hit the books if time permitted) in the fall of 1959. My first pleasant
surprise at MCJC was a nucleus of good football players (Mick Minette, Dave White, Dave Humphrey and
Tiny were Clear Lake grads already on campus) who were an integral part of what developed into a very
good Junior College team.
Tiny, called "Man Mountain" and "The Behemoth" by local sportswriters
had developed into a very tough and smart Defensive Nose Guard since I had played with him at CLHS. That
was great, EXCEPT- I was the guy who had the dubious distinction of playing across the line from him
in endless practice scrimmages. I quickly learned what a fence post must feel like when it is being driven
into the ground by a sledgehammer!
Tiny not only kept me in stitches in the medical sense of
the word, he kept me in stitches with his quick witted verbal intimidation as he chewed me up and spit
me out day after day. I think the guy who wrote the Superman series had it wrong: Superman did NOT spend
his free time disguised as Clark Kent. He disguised himself as Tiny Van Loan and spent his afternoons
pounding on me!
After a year with Tiny at MCJC I always thought the Government should have required
Tiny to wear the following Surgeon General's warning on his chest: HANGING AROUND WITH TINY COULD BE
DANGEROUS TO YOUR HEALTH. IT IS KNOWN THAT MANY PEOPLE HAVE NEARLY DIED FROM LAUGHTER EVEN AFTER SHORT
EXPOSURE TO HIS WIT AND HUMOR!
My year at MCJC wasn't the end of good times and laughter generated
by the one and only Tiny Van Loan. Indeed not! The very next year, I found myself in Des Moines, at Drake
University, and again in the presence of Tiny!
The good times I had being around Tiny in Des
Moines are too many to tell in the space available....
Have you heard the one about the panic
call Tiny made to us in the dimly lit, wee hours of the morning because of "a very serious and contagious
looking ailment" that had formed on his left foot during the night? After a quick examination of the
afflicted foot and a glance at nearby evidence we determined that Tiny had stepped barefooted into an
open box of pizza on his way to bed and had not noticed. When he awoke after the pizza crust, cheese,
pepperoni and black olives had dried on the bottom of his foot, I have to admit it looked like a disease
that only Mother Theresa might have cared to treat!
After the fall of the year in which I graduated
from Drake and had to buckle down to the work-a-day world, I didn't see much more of Tiny. I do know
one thing: If God sees fit to let me pass through the pearly gates of Heaven when my time comes, the
first thing I'm going to do is listen for the sound of happy laughter. When I hear the laughter, I will
know Tiny is there and Heaven will be an even more joyful place than God and the Gospels have already
Words by Sterling Arlo (Pinky) Lien|
here is a little rememberance i have of tiny vanloan
i have many fond memories of time spent with the guys from the class of 57 and one of the fondest
is of van loan.
we were seniors and i had just been informed by mully that i would not be a
member of the varsity basketball team for 1957. well, i figured i might as well participate in the intramural
i can remember sitting in the gym getting ready to select teams. martin
had selected eight guys to be captains of which i was one. i was the last to select in the first round
and was wondering who might be left when it got to me. i could see tiny sitting there and was thinking
if i had first choice i would grab him. tiny wasn't fast but i knew he was quick thinking had great
hands,shooting both right and left, and amazing coordination for such a big man. besides, he was tough
under the basket. he proved that at many a driveway court on saturday afternoons.
supprise when my turn came and there he sat. after i got tiny my next picks were easy and the first
practice session was held. i told everyone there was just one rule that would be strictly adhered to.
no one could shoot unless tiny or i was under the the basket, i think they thought they weren't allowed
to shoot. everyone would guard me or tiny and i would be yelling at them to shoot. i knew tiny would
clear the opponents out and most likley get the rebound and put the ball in the hoop. i think we went
undefeated and i credit that good fortune to Gerald Joseph Van Loan he seldom missed when shooting a
basketball...he is often missed by his classmates. WE LOVE YOU TINY!
If you would like to include your memories or thoughts of Jerry, please send them to either Mick Minette