Harry Allen VanAuken

Harry Allen VanAuken

ALTAMONT — Al VanAuken was a man who was devoted to his wife, and who loved his children and grandchildren. 

He died on Wednesday, July 15, 2020. He was 71.

Harry Allen VanAuken was born to Harry and Olive VanAuken on May 10, 1949, in Guilderland.

Mr. VanAuken’s father drove a truck while his mother stayed at home with the family’s six sons, said Penny Wheeler, Mr. VanAuken’s daughter. 

A lifelong Guilderland resident, Mr. VanAuken joined the United States Army after high school. After his discharge, his daughter said, he worked for Colonie Masonry as a mason tender; he also worked for BBL Construction and Sanderson Contracting.

Mr. VanAuken worked as a custodian for the Guilderland Central School District from 1999 to 2015, Mrs. Wheeler said. During that time, she worked alongside her father; the two would lunch together every evening.

“Because we both worked nights … I really got to know him then,” she said. 

“Al was a devoted husband to his wife, Victoria, known as “Vicky,” and enjoyed 31 years of traveling and gambling with her,” Mr. VanAuken’s family wrote in a tribute.

Mrs. Wheeler said that her father and stepmother traveled to New Orleans to take in Mardi Gras a couple of times and also vacationed in the Bahamas. The couple also traveled with Mrs. Wheeler to Tucson, Arizona, to meet her son’s bone-marrow donor.

“He was an avid NASCAR fan (#3) along with baseball and football,” his family wrote in a tribute.

“Al was a 45-year member of the American Legion Helderberg Post 977, Altamont,” Mr. VanAuken’s family wrote. “He proudly carried the American Flag in all Memorial Day Parades in the area.”

Mrs. Wheeler said what she most wanted people to know about her father was that he was a “great grandfather” and that he loved his grandchildren very much, and that he loved his own children as well. 


Harry Allen VanAuken is survived by his wife, Victoria; his children, Penny Wheeler and her husband, Jerome, Janet Ruggiero and her husband, Phil, stepson Shawn DeLillo and his wife, Kait; seven grandchildren; six great grandchildren; his brothers, Clifford and his wife, Linda, Bill and his wife, Marianne, Tom, and Terry; and by many nieces and nephews.

His daughter, Tammy Floyd, died before him, as did his brother, Bob, and his sister-in-law, Barb.

At Mr. VanAuken’s request, his body will be cremated and a ceremony will be held at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

— Sean Mulkerrin


T Hughes
Joined: 07/27/2020 - 17:53
Al Van Auken

I feel that Al only allowed a few people to peer thru that gruff exterior of his. I was one of them. I will always
remember his kindness and friendship he showed to me. Rest my friend, we'll all be along in time.
Dan Hughes and family


More Obituaries

  • Barbara A. Newell

    GUILDERLAND CENTER — Barbara A. Newell, a school-bus driver who loved children, died peacefully at Albany Medical Center on Monday, July 20, 2020 surrounded by her loving sons. She was 74.

    She was born Feb. 1, 1946 in Brooklyn, New York to the late John and Elizabeth Newell.

  • GUILDERLAND — James J. Almy Sr., a hard-working man who loved his family, died on Friday, July 17, 2020, at St. Peter’s Hospice Inn. He was 87.

  • EAST BERNE — James Olin Fallon, of East Berne, a loving father and cherished grandfather, “entered into eternal life on Sunday, Aug. 2, 2020,” his family wrote. He was 70.

    Born in Troy, New York on Sept. 22, 1949, he was the son of the late James and Dorothy (née Olin) Fallon.

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.