Robert ‘Ponch’ Van Camp, 83
Funeral services for Robert “Ponch” Van Camp, 83, of Kansas City, formerly of Thornfield, were held Feb. 3, 2018, at Floral Hills Funeral Home in Kansas City. Mr. Van Camp died Jan. 27 in Kansas City.
He was born May 1, 1934, in Kansas City, the son of Robert and Dollar Van Camp. He grew up in Sterling, Colorado, and then in Thornfield, where the family moved in 1948.
When he was old enough, he enlisted in the Army. During his service time, he was set up on a blind date with Marjorie, the woman who would later become his wife. She was an Airman First Class in the Air Force and signed up for another tour, which she served out in Germany. While there, she received a proposal letter and ring in the mail. They were married when she returned to the States.
They settled in Kansas City, where Mr. Van Camp became a captain with the Kansas City Fire Department. During his years with the department he reportedly saved several lives after running into burning buildings, taught first aid and CPR, and delivered babies when women in labor came to the fire department. For several years he was a Scout Master; he also served as vice president of Firefighters Union Local 42.
After 25 years with KCFD, he retired, and he and Mrs. Van Camp moved to a farm in the Theodosia-Thornfield area. He helped start the Thornfield Volunteer Fire Department and served as chief. He organized and led many fundraisers for those in need, hosting barbecues that served meat he purchased and cooked himself. He hauled cattle and hay for farmers who couldn’t afford it.
He launched the first recycling effort in Ozark County, which collected recyclable materials at firehouses around the county, and worked to help create the Clean Water Act.
Mr. Van Camp was known as a people person, a man who was seen by many as a father figure, someone who “never knew a stranger,” always had a smile on his face, laughed a lot and loved to joke around. He loved life.
He is survived by his wife, Marjorie, of Kansas City; one daughter, Lori Brackett and husband Vincent of the Kansas City area; one son, Bobby Van Camp and wife Brenda of Kansas City; three grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents; one brother, Leslie Van Camp; one sister, Charlene Lambert: and one great-grandchild, Audrey Louise.
Burial was in Floral Hills Memorial Gardens in Kansas City.
Floral Hills Funeral Home, Kansas City, directors.