Daniel D. Van Soelen ’46

Daniel D. Van Soelen ’46 died on March 12, 2016, in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

(The following was published in the Santa Fe New Mexican on March 17, 2016):

DANIEL DONALDSON VAN SOELEN JANUARY 14, 1923 – MARCH 12, 2016 Don passed away quietly in his sleep at the age of 93. He was preceded in death by his sister, Jay (Virginia), his father, Theodore Van Soelen, his mother, Virginia Carr Van Soelen, his loving wife, Emma Lou Diekman-Van Soelen, his former wife, Valeria, his brother, Ted and his wife, Esther, and his son-in-law, Paul Frizzell. He is survived by his son, Tom and wife Cheri, of Durango, CO, his son, Jim of Santa Fe and daughter, Karen Frizzell of Rio Rancho, NM, step-son, Donnie Diekman and wife Sylvia, of Huntsville, AL, step-daughter, Debbie Faragalli and husband Daniel, of Lake Oswego, OR, step-son Doug Diekman and wife Patty, of Grand Junction, CO, step-daughter, Karen Hunter and husband Glenn, of Oak Park, IL and 13 grandchildren. He is also survived by a number of nieces and nephews. Don was born in Albuquerque, as was his mother, and shortly afterwards they moved to Santa Fe, then Tesuque, where he grew up, learning to ride at an early age. His family moved to Cornwall, CT in 1934. His father wanted to be closer to the gallery in NYC that handled his work. When they left Santa Fe, College Street was paved only as far as the Armory and from there to the Texas border Route 66 was a dirt road. After two years in Cornwall, the family returned to Tesuque for the summers and back to Cornwall after Labor Day. The last trip as a family was the spring of 1942. Don attended Taft School in Watertown, CT. His favorite sport was ice hockey. He entered Bowdoin College, Brunswick, ME in the fall, 1942, for one semester before entering the Army. After a number of transfers, he joined the 65th Division as part of the 3rd Army and fought across France and Germany ending up in Enns, Austria. Upon discharge, Don attended UNM for one year before returning to Bowdoin, where he graduated in Feb., 1949, Class of 1946. He was a member of the Psi U Fraternity. Don taught the spring semester at Pebble Hill Country Day School in Syracuse, NY and a year at the Judson School in Scottsdale, AZ. He was then recalled for the Korean War and became Aide-de-Camp to Gen. Balmer, the Assistant Commandant of Ft. Bliss, TX. Discharged two years later, he returned to Santa Fe and joined The First National Bank of Santa Fe in Oct., 1952 on the east side of the Plaza. The bank moved to the renovated Cassell building (formerly the Oñate Theatre) on the west side in the spring of 1954. From 1956 – 1958 he attended the Colorado School of Banking in Boulder, receiving his Certificate of Graduation from the School of Banking in 1958. He was Vice President & Cashier of the Bank for a number of years and was Manager of the Los Alamos branch from 1977 – 1979. He returned to the main office to help open the Custom Banking Office in the Delgado House. The purpose was to provide more personalized service to high balance customers. He retired Dec. 31, 1984 as Senior Vice President after 32 years. Besides the bank, he was active in a number of community organizations. He was the third Treasurer of the Santa Fe Animal Shelter, a volunteer on the Santa Fe Ski Patrol and a National Ski Patrolman, past Chairman and Treasurer of the Historic Santa Fe Foundation over a twenty year period, Chairman Emeritus of El Rancho de las Golondrinas, Board member of the Randall Davey Audubon Center and Emeritus of the School of Advanced Research to name a few. He was elected to the SAR Board in August, 1964, succeeding his father. On the occasion of the 100th anniversary he reportedly told the president that between his father and himself, they had been on the board sixty of the hundred years. Also following his father’s death, he was elected a member of the Chili Club, originally called the Axis Club because of the rotation. It first started in 1938, one member to be host once a year and another member to give a paper on any topic of his choosing, but the more argumentative the better. With the beginning of WWII and as an accommodation to the FBI, the name was changed. In March, 2014 the Club had its 76th anniversary. Don loved reading in his library and listening to classical music. He also loved a good, practical joke and was a bit of a raconteur. Another major love was the out-of-doors – camping, hiking, skiing, gardening, birding (he started on his own in Cornwall, CT when he was twelve) and fly-fishing on his favorite stream, the Los Pinos. It is on the NM/CO line where he bought 20 acres and an old homesteader cabin he had made habitable. Later he acquired another 20 acres. He also loved to travel.

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