Blair Van Zetten, 68, president of Oskaloosa Food Products Corp. and a founding board member of the Egg Industry Center, died January 18, 2021.
Van Zetten was born June 24, 1952, in Oskaloosa, Iowa, to Marion and John Van Zetten. He attended Culver Military Academy and graduated from Oskaloosa High School. He received his B.A. in business at Upper Iowa University in Fayette, Iowa. He married Wendy A. Davis, of Syracuse, New York, on June 14, 1975.
He took control of Oskaloosa Food Products Corp. in 1980 after his father’s death. His father started the company in 1938. Oskaloosa Foods, located in Oskaloosa, Iowa, is an industry leader in dried, liquid and frozen egg products and serves domestic and international markets.
Van Zetten was a founding board member of EIC and one of its original visionaries who worked to make the organization a reality for the egg industry. He served as EIC’s first chair from the time of the center’s creation in 2008 until 2011. During his time on the EIC Board, he was actively engaged in determining research funding initiatives and educational speakers for the industry to learn from, as well as working to grow the endowment that helps the center fund research throughout North America.
He was also a past chair of the American Egg Board (AEB), the United Egg Association and the Iowa Egg Council. At the time of his death, he was a member of the United Egg Producer Board, treasurer of the board for the U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance, treasurer of the board for the Iowa Egg Council, AEB Board member and market development committee chair, and vice chair of the EIC Board.
He had earned the title of Oskaloosa Citizen of The Year and was named Urner Barry's Egg Person of the Year in 2016. He was inducted to the Iowa Poultry Association Hall of Fame in 2019. In 2020, Van Zetten was given the highest honor by the Iowa State University Alumni Association for non-graduates of Iowa State University – the Honorary Alumni Award. This award is given to those who have made significant contributions to Iowa State's welfare, reputation, prestige and pursuit of excellence.
Van Zetten served many organizations outside the egg industry. He was a past president for the Oskaloosa Chamber of Commerce, the Oskaloosa Community Development Board and the Forest Cemetery Board. He was a past chair of the TruBank Board of Directors and served as an elder in the First Presbyterian Church.
He is survived by his wife; three sons, Jason, Brandon and Travis; three grandchildren, Driver, Aunya and Beahr; one sister, Cheryl Van Zetten; and many cousins.
He was preceded in death by his parents.
Services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Tuesday, January 26 at the First Presbyterian Church in Oskaloosa, with Rev. John White officiating. The service will be live-streamed on the First Presbyterian Oskaloosa Facebook page. Burial will be in Forest Cemetery. Visitation will begin at 11 a.m., Monday, January 25 at Langkamp Funeral Chapel; the family will greet visitors from 4-7 p.m. According to the rules put in place by the Iowa Department of Public Health, proper social distancing and appropriate personal protective equipment are required for attending these public events.
Memorials may be made to the Blair Van Zetten Memorial; designation will be made later. Contributions may be sent to Langkamp Funeral Chapel 2116 N. 3rd ST Oskaloosa, IA 52577.