POLSON — The second eldest of eight children, Lanny Van Meter, 69, was born in Franklin, IN, on April 7, 1951, to Albert and Odell (Logsdon) Van Meter. Lanny passed away in the early morning hours of May 23, 2020.
Lanny grew up in Needham, IN, and was a standout athlete at Franklin Community High School where he participated in and won many awards in football, wrestling and track. In his junior year he received the Good Citizenship Award. He also represented the school as a delegate to Boys State held on the IU campus at that time.
Continuing on with his own love of sports, he coached and mentored basketball and football teams at the Franklin Boys Club throughout most of the 70’s. He later coached his son, and grandsons in football and boxing, and his daughters in dance. He was proud to watch Andy’s Jr. Golden Glove boxing matches and to witness his grandson, Jonah, sign to play football at Montana Tech.
After working at Public Service Indiana as a lineman and then foreman for over 10 years, he moved his family to Butte and then on to Polson where he worked for Mission Valley Power. There he found that the Big Sky state was everything he dreamed of. Eventually, Lanny made his way to Kodiak, Alaska. He loved his time as Operations Mgr. for Kodiak Electric and living in Alaska where his dad, Albert, had been stationed during WWII. And of course it didn’t hurt that there was an abundance of fishing and hunting opportunities.
In 2004 he was honored by the Alaskan Field and Wildlife Service with a public service award for his work on the implementation of the Firefly bird flapper attached over the top of power poles. This simple, flimsy perch made out of a piece of irrigation tubing uses color and motion to divert eagles that arrive in Kodiak for the winter from landing on power lines causing power outages and even death to the eagles. Lanny would later say that he designed this because he was a conservationist and that this was his gift to the world. Lanny had many gifts for this world.
Upon his retirement, Lanny and his wife, Helen, moved back to Montana to be closer to family. Not one to sit idle, he soon joined the Lake County Sheriff’s department in Polson. He worked there until his passing.
Lanny is survived by his wife, Helen; his son Andy (Mandy); two daughters, Sunday Morning Plant (Pete) and Bernina Sunrise Van Meter; two brothers, Dr. Dan Van Meter and Darrell Van Meter (Debbie); five sisters, Abby Kirby (Terry); Brenda Smith (Jeff); Barb Van Meter; Mary E Burton (Don); Janet Moran (Steve); thirteen grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, his niece Juliena Van Meter and his nephew Jason Moran.
Lanny was a great man, truly adored and respected and he will be missed by all who knew him. He loved his family, especially his grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Lanny was a hard worker and set a shining example.
Lanny loved and respected the outdoors and was a great fisherman and an outstanding hunter. In his memory, go for a walk, take out a fishing pole, grab a rifle, or just go outside and soak in the beauty of the woods, lakes and blue skies he loved so much. No one in his family will ever look up at the big glorious mountains or beautiful big sky without thinking of him.
A funeral service is scheduled for Wednesday, June 3 at 2:00 p.m. at the Ronan Community Center in Ronan, MT. Arrangements are in the care of The Lake Funeral Home and Crematory, Polson, MT. Messages of condolences may be shared with the family online at www.lakefuneralhomeandcremation.com. Arrangements are under the care of The Lake Funeral Home and Crematory.