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Tom (Van Steenhuyse) Stonehouse

June 11, 1950 August 14, 2020
Tom (Van Steenhuyse) Stonehouse
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Obituary for Tom (Van Steenhuyse) Stonehouse

Vinton—Tom (Van Steenhuyse) Stonehouse, 70, passed away Friday, August 14, 2020 at his home in Palm Springs, CA, following a short and courageous battle with leukemia.

Private family services will be held to honor and celebrate Tom’s life.

Thomas Raphael Van Steenhuyse was born June 11, 1950 in Vinton, the son of Ray and Helen (Walsh) Van Steenhuyse. Tom graduated with the Vinton class of 1968, the University of Iowa and Drake University where he earned a law degree. He worked for twenty years in Chicago editing Social Security legal opinions for Commerce Clearing House (CCH) the nation’s largest legal publisher. When CCH sold, Tom accepted the early retirement package and he and his partner, Jim Edwards, moved to Palm Springs. For many years he was a highly sought after professional guide in Palm Springs, educating people about the geology and the flora and fauna of the desert.

Tom joked that as soon as he changed his name to Stonehouse, (the translation of Van Steenhuyse), and got rid of the extra word, the space and two capital letters, life became instantly easier.

Tom was a very talented individual. He was witty, an adroit conversationalist, a debonair dresser, a clever writer, incredibly well-traveled and well-read and an active supporter of causes he believed in. He had a wonderful singing voice and was active in high school choir, the University of Iowa Old Gold Singers and sang at several weddings. He was an artist who enjoyed painting and drawing and he often embellished letters written to nieces and nephews with his illustrations. He enjoyed flower gardening and hosting dinner parties.
Tom is survived by his partner of almost 50 years, Jim, Palm Springs; siblings, Frank and Kathy Van Steenhuyse, Vinton, Dan and Nancy Van Steenhuyse, Urbandale, Mary McLaury and Rich Kopanda, Sarasota, FL, and Amy and Kurt Lau, Clive; several nieces and nephews and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his parents.

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Private family services will be held at a later date.

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