Cover photo for Van Summerill's Obituary
1942 Van 2024

Van Summerill

June 1, 1942 — March 17, 2024

Lear Van Dyke Summerill, more commonly known as Van Summerill, passed away on Sunday, March 17, 2024, at Legacy House of Ogden.  Van had Parkinson’s Disease for many years, and his body simply got too tired to go on.

 

Van was born on June 1, 1942, to Lear Alfred Summerill and Dorothy Van Dyke Summerill in Ogden, Utah. Van was a life-long resident of Ogden; he graduated from Ogden High School in 1960; and he attended Weber State College earning an associate degree.  Most importantly of all, he was presented with an Honorary Doctorate Degree in 2014 from Weber State University for his selfless work for his beloved Ogden, Weber State University, and especially for the Peery’s Egyptian Theatre.  Without Van’s hard work and tenacity, the Peery’s Egyptian Theatre would not be here today.

 

At a very early age, Van developed a love for the movies.  Saturday mornings were the best.  Van’s dad would drop him off at the theater and hours later find him still watching the BIG SCREEN.  The manager of the theater noticed that Van was frequently there; he offered Van a job.  His love for movies and theaters became a HUGE part of who he was.  He started as a ticket taker and progressed to assistant manager.  He made a little transition and became a projectionist later.  All these theater related jobs were part time, except for the assistant manager position which lasted for only 8 months.

 

For twelve years, the Peery’s Egyptian Theatre did not show movies.  In fact, it was on a schedule to be demolished.  There were many hurdles that needed to be jumped before it could be saved, renovated, and reopened.  Many entities came together with funding, and the Ogden Eccles Conference Center and the Peery’s Egyptian Theatre came together.  Van, along with many others, initially formed the “Friends of the Egyptian Theatre.”  Then, the name was changed to the “Egyptian Theatre Foundation.”  The Foundation’s #1 priority was and still is the preservation of the theater.

 

Van worked at Weber College, Weber State College, and Weber State University (WSU) for 40 years, from 1962 to 2002, in Printing Services.  The different names for WSU reflect the progression with the education level available at the university.  Van was the only designer and layout artist in Printing Services.  It was amazing what he could design with virtually no tools and no computer design programs.  When computers came to Printing Services, Van learned the programs and continued his meticulous work.

 

Before and after retiring, Van remained involved actively with the Peery’s Egyptian Theatre.  He was on the Board and was President in both the “Friends of the Egyptian Theatre” and the “Egyptian Theatre Foundation.”  There was not a moment in time when he was not busily doing “something” for the theater.  

 

Van loved being around people and having a good time.  He built a theater in his basement and named it the “Bijou.”  It was more than what one might expect…it was AWESOME!  Over the years, he invited hundreds of friends and families over for popcorn and a movie.  

 

Van had a sense of humor that was contagious.  He always had others laughing and guessing; he made those around him happy.  He loved traveling around the country to see the exotic movie palaces.  Van had a lot of friends who simply loved him because he was “Van.”  He changed and enhanced lives for the better.  Many have shed tears after hearing of his passing.  His neurologist, his caregivers at Legacy House, his family, and the many youths he had in Road Shows and the ones who enjoyed the weekly 13th Ward Movies will never forget the impact he had.  Oh, the memories!!!  They will live on with us who have had the privilege of really knowing him, the character that he could be, and the one with the strength to gather others to the cause of saving the Peery’s Egyptian Theatre.  This is his Legacy!!!

 

Van is survived by his sister, Sally S. Cannon; nephews: Jay (Sheila), Tye (Carrie), Quinn (Jill), Drew (Tara); niece, Elysia C. Butler (Dave), and their families; sister-in-law Sandra D. Summerill; nephews: Pete (Sara), Read (Karie), Ryan (Laura), and their families. Van was preceded in death by his parents, Lear and Dorothy Summerill; brother, Wayne Summerill; and brother-in-law, Doug Cannon.

 

A Celebration of Life Service will be held on Monday, March 25, 2024, at the Peery’s Egyptian Theatre in Ogden, Utah, 2415 Washington Blvd., 84401.  Doors will open at 6:30 p.m.  The Celebration of Life will begin in the theater at 7:00 p.m.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Egyptian Theatre Foundation, 2415 Washington Blvd., PO Box 4, Ogden, UT 84402 or http://egyptiantheatrefoundation.org/. The Peery’s Egyptian Theatre was a huge part of Van’s life.  There was never a day go by that he didn’t think and talk about this theater.  In many ways, this theater was his “kid.”


Services will be livestreamed and available at the bottom of Van’s obituary page.



If you haven't viewed the YouTube video about Van's interesting life surrounding movies and the Peery’s Egyptian Theatre, here it is: https://youtu.be/8UEfZZOPyC4?si=M-6-8QR-gTDE5Nih



https://www.theogdenite.com/news/the-community-celebrates-the-life-of-van-summerill-who-brought-life-back-to-the-theater




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Celebration of Life

Monday, March 25, 2024

6:30 - 8:00 pm (Mountain time)

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