Robert "Robbie" Johannes van Haastert

Wednesday, September 25, 2013 - 19:00

Eagle River’s Robert “Robbie” Johannes van Haastert died surrounded by family and friends Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, after a two-year battle with Ewings Sarcoma cancer. He was 27.

Robbie is survived by his parents, Robert and Cindy van Haastert, of Eagle River; sisters Melissa van Haastert, of Eagle River, Allison (Jon) Billman, of Napa, Calif., and Christen (Ian) Walklin, of Portland, Maine; grandparents Gilbert and Juliette Ceballos, of Cypress, Calif.; niece Isabella and nephew Eli; aunts Inge Hall, Stephanie Hautala, Sonia Ceballos; uncle Gilbert Ceballos; and extended family in Oklahoma and California.

He was preceded in death by his grandparents, Gustaaf and Jacoba van Haastert, and cousin, Thomas Ceballos.

Robbie was born Feb. 2, 1986, on George Air Force Base in California and came to Alaska with his family in February 1987 — living first at Eielson Air Force Base and then at Elmendorf Air Force Base.

Growing up in Eagle River, Robbie attended Eagle River Elementary, Gruening Middle School and graduated from Chugiak High in 2005. In 2007, he earned a degree in culinary arts and restaurant management from the Arizona Culinary Institute.

Robbie was passionate in all aspects of life including sports, hunting, fishing, cooking and enjoying the adventures that traveling the world brings with friends and family. Of all locations across the globe, none were more important to Robbie than his longtime Eagle River home, his family wrote.

Robbie excelled in athletics from a young age participated in football, baseball, hockey and wrestling as a youngster. Robbie won the Tanana 140 Championship.

He continued to excel with the Chugiak Mustang football team and was on the 2002 state champion wrestling team.

“It was the lifelong camaraderie along with teamwork, sacrifice, self-discipline and being a contributing member of the Eagle River community that appealed most to Robbie,” his family wrote.

The family would like to recognize the excellent staff at Providence Hospital (5N), University of Washington Medical Center (6SE), Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance House, and Robbie’s close friends: Alex Hagge, Wyatt Brown, SaraJane Urbanovsky, Scotty Willis, Eric Ward, Max Daugherty, and many others for their unconditional love and support.

Special thanks to Chepo and Lucia Nunez and Chepo’s Mexican Restaurant for their continued support of Robbie, family and the entire community these last several years.

A funeral was held at Saint Anthony’s Catholic Church in Anchorage on Sept. 18, 2013. A celebration of life was held at Chepo’s Mexican Restaurant in Eagle River.

In lieu of flowers, Robbie asked that condolences be expressed by donating blood at the local blood bank.

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