Husband: Hunter Van Lear
Father: Harry Poindexter Van Lear [R554]
Mother: Katherine (Wood) Van Lear [R554]
Born: 12/27/1919 in Roanoke Va.
Died: 1/5/2007

Wife: Carol (McCallum) Van Lear
Father: John Murdock McCallum
Mother: Mary (Doherty) McCallum
Born: 6/15/1919 in Nelson County Va.

Married: 9/10/1942, in Norfolk Va.

Mary Katharine (Kate) Van Lear, b. 8/9/1943 in Mobile Ala.
Steven Hunter Van Lear, b. 5/5/1947 in Richmond Va. M. to
   Katherine Kelly Evans of Hazelton Pa., in Denver Colo., 1987; ch.
   Hunter McCallum (b. 3/7/1988 in San Diego Calif.), Quintin Reed
   (b. 11/29/1990 in San Diego Calif.)
Elizabeth Lee (Liz) Van Lear, b. 6/1/1952 in Roanoke Va.

(2003) Carol was one of nine children; her parents died by the time she was eight. She attended Virginia Intermont College and then Radford College, where she met Hunter at a VPI dance, while he was a student there. She graduated in 1941, and that fall began teaching home economics in the high school in Braddock Va., part of Portsmouth.

Hunter reports in a taped interview (8/93), “I went to high school in Lynchburg, graduated in 1936; went to Lynchburg College for the next two years, and graduated at Virginia Tech in 1940 at the age of 20. At that time jobs were difficult to find; we were not yet in the war, and we still had the remnants of the depression. I got a job with the Southeastern Underwriters Association, as a fire protection engineer. [This was the same organization my father, John Wood (R560), worked for.] Was located in Raleigh for about three months, Greensboro for about three months, and then moved to Atlanta, which was the headquarters of the SEUA. Then after a year I was transferred to Mobile; that’s the time when Carol and I were married.

“We were in Mobile for two years, and during that time Katie was born. Then we were transferred to Birmingham, where I had charge of the SEUA office, which included most of Alabama and western Florida. We were there about two years, and I left the Southeastern Underwriters then (1946) and took a job with the Home Insurance Company, which was one of the larger members of the SEUA. My job was in Richmond, as a special agent, which required me to call on our agents in those areas of the state that were my territory, the western half of the state, including Lynchburg and Roanoke. Steve was born in Richmond, during the three-year period we lived there. And incidentally, we lived near Richmond in the village of Short Pump [laugh].

“After three years I was transferred to Roanoke with the title of State Agent, to open an office there. Liz was born there, in 1952. In that year they promoted me into the New York office of the Home Insurance Company. We rented a house in Florham Park New Jersey, which adjoined Madison. We lived there for about a year and a half, and then we scraped up enough money to make a down payment on a house in Murray Hill, New Jersey, which adjoins Summit. We lived there for about seven years, and then we moved to Chatham where we stayed until we retired.

“In a few months I was made an Assistant Secretary, which was a junior corporate officer; and then in a few years promoted to the Secretary, and given various assignments, including research and development of new types of insurance. I organized the Actuarial Department of the company, organized the Engineering Department of the company, was later placed in charge of the Farm Department of the company, and after a few years of that, was promoted to Vice President, and placed in charge of the southern territory of the company (about 1967). After about three years of that I was promoted to a job in charge of property underwriting for the company, throughout the country. And after several more years, two or three more years, I was placed in charge of all underwriting, for all lines of insurance, everything that we wrote: casualty, property, marine, reinsurance, everything. And promoted to Senior Vice President, and then, in a couple years, to Executive Vice President and Director of most of our companies.

“During that time I also had responsibility for all the insurance syndicates and rating organizations that we belonged to, and we were very active in many of those; and during the course of that period of time I served on the Executive Committee of many of these organizations, which were the major ones operating in the country at the time. And I became Chairman―or President―of Excess Casualty Insurance and Reinsurance Association; Fire Insurance Research and Actuarial Association; Factory Insurance Association; Industrial Risk Insurers; the Southeastern Underwriters Association; Virginia Insurance Rating Bureau; and several others.

“In that period a competitor of ours with another insurance company, who was a good friend of mine, and I realized that some major changes needed to be made in the old rating bureaus. The two of us arranged a meeting of representatives of most major insurance companies that were members of these rating organizations, five major ones, and we were successful in setting up an organization called the Insurance Service Office, which then merged and took over the functions of all these rating organizations. These included the Casualty Rating Bureau, the Marine Insurance Rating Bureau, the actuarial and statistical organizations, and all the fire insurance rating organizations, including the Southeastern Underwriters Association. And so it happened that I was the last President and Chairman of the Southeastern Underwriters Association, and was one of the two people really responsible for putting them out of business.

“In 1976 I retired, really on disability, because I’d had a series of back operations, and the last one had been highly unsuccessful. We sold our house in Chatham New Jersey, and then we moved to Hilton Head, bought land, got an architect, and built a house. We moved in in ‘77.

“Regarding our Cowpasture River summer cottage, known affectionately throughout our family as ‘the cabin,’ which is what it was called by my parents. About 1939 my grandfather, L. E. Wood, gave the property now known as the Girl’s Camp to his daughter Matt. I think about 14 acres of land. And about 1940 he gave this property, which comprises about 10 acres, to my mother, presumably intended as part of her inheritance, while he was still alive. Starting about 1940 or early ‘41 my mother and father, with my grandfather’s guidance, built this cottage we’re in today, which then consisted of a living room, two small bedrooms, a kitchen, and a back porch. With no plumbing, no electric wiring, not anything. And my mother and father enjoyed it immensely, whenever they could. They always came here for their vacation, and on many weekends. When they retired they spent as much time as they could here, enjoying it immensely. During that time they added this bedroom over here on my left, with a bath, and of course they had gotten electricity and running water in the meantime.

“Later my sister and I inherited the property from my mother and father. My two brothers were not interested in buying it, so we took it as part of our inheritance. Louise and I made a number of improvements, and then later I bought Louise out. She continues to own a little less than five acres of land here, but we own the buildings. We’ve made our own improvements to the property: the bedroom and second bath here, the laundry room, and many other minor improvements. So today it’s a very liveable place, in the summertime. But there’s no heat.

“From the time I was a small boy until I graduated from college, I spent every summer at Nimrod, helping when requested and having a fine time. In the later years I worked at the Boys Camp as counselor, teaching swimming, life saving, and canoeing.”

Hunter and Carols’s daughter Kate graduated from Randolph-Macon College in Lynchburg, and lives in Philadelphia. Steve graduated from Hampton-Sydney College and Colorado State University, and lives in Huntersville N.C., a suburb of Charlotte. Liz attended Lafayette College (Pa.) and the University of Colorado, and has worked for 10 years in publishing in London, England.