Milton H. Van Auken

Milton H. Van Auken

Milton H. (Soup) Van Auken, 93, passed away peacefully of natural causes on October 6, 2019 at the Benefis Teton Medical Center in Choteau, Montana.

He was born in Williams, Montana on October 28, 1925 to James Harold and Mary Abbie (Morey) Van Auken and was the only boy having seven sisters. The family moved to Agawam, MT when he was a year old and to Choteau when he was seven where he resided until his death. At age 17, he left school and enlisted in the US Navy serving on the USS Portland in the South Pacific Theater during WWII. Upon being discharged, he returned to Choteau to finish High School.

Shortly after, at a ballgame, he met the love of his life, Therese Toeckes from Power MT. He pursued her with song and his charm until they were married on October 4, 1948 at the Guardian Angel Catholic Church in Power. They settled in Choteau where they raised their two sons, Dennis and Dick. While the boys were young, Soup was a Boy Scout Leader, baseball coach and umpire, and golf mentor.

Soup was a man of many talents: carpenter, plumber, and salesperson at Schroeder’s Hardware.  As an entrepreneur, he owned and operated Choteau Transfer, the local dray line freight company. In his spare time, he drove school bus for Choteau Schools.  He finished his working career as the Maintenance Engineer at the Teton County Courthouse.  After retiring, he built and remodeled many homes for his family. 

He enjoyed being with his family and friends, golfing, hunting, fishing, singing and dancing.  His favorite time was spent with Therese and family at their cabin in Hannon Gulch in Sun River Canyon. He was a member of the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, a retired member of the Choteau Volunteer Fire Department, a member of the Choteau VFW and the American Legion Post # 6, and a past president of the Choteau Country Club.

Soup is survived by his wife of 71 years, sons Dennis (Susie) of Cedar Rapids, IA; Dick (Dianne) of Fairfield, MT; his sister Jean DeRusha of Great Falls, MT; brother-in-law Albert (Margaret) Toeckes of Climax, Sask, Canada; sister-in-laws: Sister Mary Toeckes and Izzy Femling of Chewelah, WA,  Sheila Toeckes of Shaunavon, Sask. Canada, Karen Toeckes of Dutton, MT, and Mary Kay Toeckes of Great Falls, MT; 5 grandchildren, 4 great-grandchildren and numerous nephews and nieces.  He was preceded in death by his parents, his sisters Verna Huidekoper, Doris Jardine, Avis (Helf) Inbody, Eyvanna Connole, Evelyn Hoxsey, and Haydn Hertlein.

The Vigil service will be held at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Choteau on Sunday October 13, 2019 at 7 p.m.  Mass of Christian burial is at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church Monday October 14th at 10:00 a.m. Interment with full military honors will follow at the Choteau Cemetery.

Memorials are suggested to the St. Joseph’s Catholic Church or a charity of the donor’s choice.

Condolences may be left on-line at www.gorderjensenfuneralhome.com

Updated on 10/11/2019 with the complete obituary