July 16, 1957 – Nov. 12, 2013
Steve Van Atta died of complications from cancer on Nov. 12, 2013, at Woodland Memorial Hospital surrounded by his loving family. His final days were spent with the large community of family and friends who came to share the last precious moments with a man who truly embodied love and integrity. His magnificent spirit remained strong throughout his illness and he frequently remarked, even at the end, that “it’s all good.”
Steve was born in Modesto on July 16, 1957, to Aileen Ann and Dwight Cameron Van Atta. The family moved to Woodland when Steve was 3 years old. After graduating from Woodland High School in 1975, Steve met Charlotte, the love of his life. They were married for 36 years with three children, Sean (Heidi), Matthew and Miranda. In 2012, the Van Atta’s were blessed with their first grandchild when Heidi and Sean welcomed son Cody.
Early in their marriage Charlotte bought Steve a home improvement book because their new house on College Street desperately needed work. That book led to a successful 30-year career as a contractor, a field into which he brought his son Matt in recent years. But Steve wasn’t just a contractor he was an entrepreneur who owned a body shop, Action Video and Bush Field, an in-line skating rink and batting cages. Bush Field not only hooked the entire family on hockey (all three kids played competitive hockey), but became a place where the Van Atta family developed many life-long friendships. These relationships were indicative of how Steve lived his life, surrounded by family and making new friends.
Family was everything to Steve, and he deeply cherished both his immediate and extended family. In typical Van Atta fashion, if Steve was around so was the whole clan, because Steve’s world was incomplete without them.
The term Renaissance man comes to mind when thinking of Steve. He could transform houses and cars from the ground up, coach hockey, brew beer, compete in demolition derbies and cook a gourmet meal from fish he caught and meat he hunted, and more. He loved a good bottle of wine and always carved out time for travel to Mount Lassen, Dillon Beach, Colorado, Mazatlán, and his second house in Clear Lake.
Steve was preceded in death by his parents Aileen and Dwight. He is survived by his wife Charlotte, sons Sean and Matt, daughter Miranda, daughter-in-law Heidi, grandson Cody, brothers Mike and David and sisters Ann Bauden and Patty Van Atta-Francis. He also leaves behind a large extended family and countless friends who loved him dearly.
A celebration of Steve’s life will be held on Friday, Nov. 22, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Hedrick Ag History Center, 1962 Hays Lane in Woodland. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Melanoma Research Foundation, www.melanoma.org.