World War II vet celebrates 100th birthday

Herman Van Beckum celebrates his 100th birthday
Herman Van Beckum celebrates his 100th birthday(Photo provided)
Published: Sep. 5, 2022 at 1:40 PM CDT
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - A World War II veteran and one of the people who established a long-time roller rink in Green Bay celebrated his 100th birthday on Labor Day.

Herman Van Beckum’s family tells us he entered the Army barely out of high school. During the war he worked in medical evacuation. He was stationed on the Island of Luzon in the Philippines, where they stabilized the wounded before they were flown to hospitals. He served from 1942 until 1945.

After the war, he was married and bought property on Goodell St., where he used his carpenter skills to build a small 24′x24′ home. As the family grew, he built a larger house on the lot and lived there for 72 years until recently. He raised 3 boys and a girl and today has 9 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and 1 great-great grandson.

He worked many years with Rollie Murphy Construction. He was also active with the St. Mary of the Angels Parish in Green Bay, and was involved in establishing St. Mary’s Roller Rink. He managed the rink for more than 10 years. He and his wife, Felicia, also volunteered at the Weidner Center. She passed away six months before their 60th wedding anniversary.

The family says Van Beckum continued helping people with his carpentry skills, including building shelves, remodeling, and building an access ramp.

He’s described as a devoted Green Bay Packers fan. He worked security and sold game day programs at City Stadium and continued working game days in the parking lot when the team moved to Lambeau Field. He also faithfully watches Brewers games.