Raymond Wayne Van Laar, son of Fredric John & Helen Vye (Baker) Van Laar, was born March 21, 1927, at home near Grand River, Iowa. Raymond grew up on a farm and developed a love for the outdoors, nature, and living off the land. Raymond graduated from Grand River High School with the class of 1945. On December 27, 1948, Raymond was united in marriage to Anna Louise Fitzgerald. To this marriage was born two daughters: Janine and Janette.

Raymond was a true farmer. He farmed with his brothers, living no more than two miles apart. He raised turkeys and sheep in the earlier years and then cattle and pigs. There were row crops of corn, beans, and haying. He raised baby animals of every kind. He loved working in the garden, harvesting the bounty of vegetables and fruit trees. He picked raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries and made jam for family and friends. Every year, Raymond would pick up black Walnuts. He spent endless hours husking them, cracking them and spent evenings in front of the TV picking out the nuts and putting them in pint jars. The jars of cracked Walnuts would then be given away or donated to church sales and community center sales. Raymond loved to go fishing. Over the years, family & friends would travel with Raymond to Minnesota or Canada for fishing trips. Raymond loved nature so much that he made Bluebird houses and then would travel the countryside putting them up. Each spring, he would go back around and clean out the houses for the Bluebirds to lay new eggs in. Raymond loved to trap, and he’d sell the furs so that he and Anna would have Christmas money. Raymond was a longtime Lions Club member and was honored with a plaque for his 54 continuous years as Gatekeeper at the Grand River rodeo. He loved baseball and basketball with the Iowa Hawkeyes and St Louis Cardinals being his favorites.

Raymond and Anna retired into Grand River in 2006. He made Clearview Estates his home in early 2024. On April 10, 2024, Raymond peacefully passed away at Clearview Home in Mount Ayr.

Raymond was preceded in death by his parents; wife Anna on April 12, 2022; granddaughter-in-law Natalie Cooney; brothers John & Verda Van Laar and Donald & Merna Van Laar; sisters Lucille & Martin Kraus, Lurene & Carl Brammer, Dorothy Jenkins; in-laws Charles Fitzgerald, John & Donna Fitzgerald, William & Aves Fitzgerald, Doyle Wookey, Duane Wookey.

Survivors include daughters Janine & Tim Cooney of Ottumwa, IA and Janette & Darren Campbell of Mount Ayr, IA; grandchildren Chris Cooney, Matt & Jennifer Cooney, and Makenzie & Brock Still; great grandchildren Dylan, Tatiana, Gavin, Maxx, Jaxx, Kambriegh, and Aspen; sisters-in-law Norma Binning and Doris Wookey, both of Grand River, IA; sister-in-law Betty Fitzgerald of Des Moines, IA; nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

A memorial fund has been established for the Grand River Community Center.