Rev. Cornelius (Neil) Van Dyke, 72, died suddenly on July 7, 2013 at his home in Stickney. Born on Dec. 10, 1940 in Oak Park, he graduated from St. Angela Catholic School and Austin High School and had a long career in the plumbing and public works profession. His career included supervising staff, developing programs and negotiating union contracts as director of Public Works in Riverside.
He met his wife, Mary Lee, in the Peace Corps in which he served from 1961 to 1963. St. Mary Parish in Riverside was his family's home parish. He served St. Mary's as a married deacon there following his diaconate ordination in 1987. Following the death of his wife, he entered Mundelein Seminary at the University of Saint Mary of the Lake in 1994. He was ordained by Francis Cardinal George in 1998.
Fr. Van Dyke served as the associate pastor at St. Barbara Parish in Brookfield for two years following ordination. For the next two years, he served in the same capacity at St. Bede the Venerable Parish on Chicago's Southwest Side. In 2002, he was named pastor of St. Pius X Parish in Stickney. He was there eight years before retiring from active ministry in 2010 and was named pastor emeritus. Fr. Dan Brandt, Chicago Police Department chaplain who took classes with Fr. Van Dyke at Mundelein Seminary, described him has a down-to-earth guy with a tremendous sense of humor.
Rev. Van Dyke is survived by his children Trey (Jean), Meg, Kathleen (David) Deitz, and Keith Van Dyke. He was preceded in death by his wife, Mary Lee.
Visitation took place from 3 to 8 p.m. on July 10, at St. Mary Parish, 126 Herrick Rd. in Riverside. Fr. Gerald Gunderson, pastor of Mary Seat of Wisdom Parish in Park Ridge, was the main celebrant at a funeral Mass on July 11 at St. Mary Parish in Riverside. Interment at Resurrection Cemetery in Justice was private.