Cover photo for Joseph Michael VanRyn's Obituary
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Joseph Michael VanRyn

June 10, 1957 — November 20, 2023

Northfield, Minnesota

Joseph Michael VanRyn

Joseph Michael VanRyn, age 66, of Northfield, Minnesota, passed away Monday, November 20, 2023, at his home in Northfield. Joseph, known variously by those who loved him as “Van”, “Joe Van”, or simply Joe, was born on June 10, 1957, in Austin, Minnesota, to Walter and Christine (Johlke) VanRyn. He graduated from Pacelli Catholic High School and went on to earn his bachelor’s degree from Winona State University. Joe’s first marriage to Colleen McCauley was blessed with three wonderful sons. On May 10, 2002, Joe married Annabelle Wagner in St. Paul, Minnesota, and the birth of a beautiful daughter in 2004 brought further blessings to his life. Joe made a career out of his passion for photography. After an award-winning turn as a photojournalist, he founded his own company, Van’s Virtuals, which became one of the most in-demand real estate photography companies in the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota. He took great pride in his work. Perhaps more preoccupying than his love of photography, though, was his abiding love of music. Making music brought him joy and lifelong friends, and whether it was on the bandstand or in the basement, it brought joy to others as well. His instrument was the mandolin. From David Grisman to Ahmad Jamal to Steely Dan, he never missed an opportunity to share what he was listening to with those around him. He passed his talents on to his children. All four play musical instruments and Michael is a professional double bassist. Joe (Joseph Walter) inherited his photojournalistic instincts and currently puts them to use at WCCO, much to his dad’s pride. Pictures of his sons and daughter filled his home. Of the many pastimes Joe took pleasure in, most notable were attending concerts, golfing, following Minnesota sports, road tripping, and cracking jokes with family and friends. In his last decades he helped shepherd his beloved daughter, Madeline, through childhood, adolescence, and the first years of early adulthood. He could not hold back the tears at her high school graduation last June, even as he documented every moment, taking picture after picture from the bleachers. Joe will be remembered for his big smile, his wit, and his love of music. He was the family protector, record keeper, and resident punster; he was a devoted husband and fun-loving father; he was an uncle, a baby brother, a son, and a friend. In a word, Joe Van was tremendous.

Joe is survived by his wife, Annabelle Wagner; sons, Michael VanRyn, Collin VanRyn, and Joe VanRyn; daughter, Madeline VanRyn; brothers, Bob (Patty) Hambright and Richard VanRyn; and sisters, Aloma Wilde, Marion (Al) Koss, and Margie (Tom) Svien; and numerous cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Christine, sister, Donna Huinker; and nephew, Erich VanRyn.

The memorial service for Joseph will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 9, 2023, at the Hormel Historic Home in Austin. A reception and sharing of music and memories will be held immediately following the service. In lieu of flowers, the VanRyn family humbly asks that you consider donating to the family’s GoFundMe campaign to help cover immediate expenses after this sudden and unexpected loss (https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-the-vanryn-family). Worlein Funeral Home of Austin is assisting the family with arrangements.
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Saturday, December 9, 2023

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