Charles Van Nyhuis


Charles “Chuck” Van Nyhuis was a boundless ball of energy, a man who literally couldn’t sit still if he tried. Growing up in rural Minnesota, Chuck married the love of his life at the young age of 20 and began his great adventure.

After serving in Vietnam with the U.S. Air Force, Chuck, with his young but growing family, began his career in law enforcement. He was first a highway patrol officer in North Dakota where he was also a first responder in areas where no other help was available for miles around. Later he joined the U.S. Border Patrol in California until he found a way to return to his Minnesota roots by joining U.S. Customs in 1980. His career as a special agent brought him to south Florida, the Oregon Coast and eventually to the Bellingham area in 1993. Working as an undercover agent for over 30 years, he had incredible stories to tell … from facing down drug smugglers to surviving a hurricane on a small fishing boat. Having a beer with Chuck always came with a great tale.

Chuck retired from U.S. Customs in 2000, but for a man with that much energy, he couldn’t just relax, so he began his “retirement job” at the Orchard Park Senior Living facility in Bellingham. It was perfect for him. It was stress-free, kept him on his feet and busy all day long, but most of all he loved chatting and sharing stories with the folks who lived there. He loved to help people and he was one of the most naturally personable people you could ever meet.

Chuck loved to fish, golf and dream about that ‘68 Chevelle that he would find and restore one day. Mostly, though, he loved to spend time with his grandchildren. He had seven grandkids and loved every second he had with them. And they all loved Grandpa Chuck and his endless supply of ice cream.

Chuck entered into eternal life on Sept. 20, 2016 after a battle with cancer — the only thing to ever rob Chuck of his boundless energy. He passed peacefully at his home in Lynden, while staring into the eyes of his wife and true love, Laurel.

He is survived by his wife, Laurel; three children, Michelle, Noel and Christopher; and seven grandchildren.

The family thanks the amazing staff at Whatcom Hospice for all their work to make Chuck’s last days as comfortable as possible.

A Funeral Mass was held on Monday, Sept. 26, 2016 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 205 12th St., Lynden.

You are invited to share your memories of Chuck in the online guestbook at

Arrangements entrusted to Gillies Funeral Home and Cremation Services.