December 29, 1936 - November 27, 2014


Brother, husband, father, grandfather, physician, innovator and friend David Michael Van Nostrand, MD, peacefully passed under hospice care on November 27, 2:50 pm at Country Manor, Sartell, MN. His name, David, means “beloved” and he is beloved by many.

A celebration of his life will be Friday, December 5, 11 a.m.­­ at First United Methodist Church of the St. Cloud Region, 1107 Pine Cone Road South, Sartell. Rev. Leah Rosso, officiating. Following the service, all are invited to the Cemetery and/or Fellowship Hall as we continue to share stories of David’s life. Visitation will be Thursday, December 4th, 4-7 p.m., at Miller Carlin Funeral Home, and one hour prior to the church service.

Known variously as “Dave,” or “Dr. Van,” David practiced medicine in the St. Cloud area for 45 years (1968-2013), first as a General Surgeon, and then as an Occupational Medicine Specialist.

He was born in Rochester, N.Y., to Rev. Manning Eugene Van Nostrand II (Gene) and Thyra Alvira Ingeborg Gundlach, a Swedish immigrant.

Dave graduated from St. Cloud Technical High School in 1954, and attended Grinnell College, Grinnell, IA, where he majored in biology and met his future wife, Catharine Marie Herr. They were married July 16, 1960, in Dubuque, Iowa, in the midst of Dave’s training at Boston University School of Medicine (graduated 1962). His daughters were born during his internship at St. Luke’s Hospital, Duluth (1962-1963), and his surgical residencies at Hennepin Co. General Hospital and V. A. Medical Center in Minneapolis (1963-1968).

A pioneer and innovator, he was the first surgeon to implant a cardiac pacemaker at the St. Cloud Hospital (1971). He learned and taught others about the laparoscope, and introduced innovative laparoscopic surgery techniques that required smaller incisions and thus faster healing times for patients. Dave was also dedicated to international medical missions in Falmouth, Jamaica, and at the Kamakwie Wesleyan Hospital in Sierra Leone, West Africa.

After surviving a cardiac arrest and quadruple heart bypass surgery in 1997, Dave’s cardiac surgeon dubbed him the “Energizer Bunny…he just keeps going.”

A skilled pilot, Dr. Van taught aviation physiology at St. Cloud State University. Combining his love of flying and medicine, he founded Wings of Mercy, Minnesota, a non-profit organization that flies needy patients to centers of specialty care (1995). Along with volunteer nurses, staff, and other pilots, Dave donated his airplane and time to fly missions around the Midwest.

For his volunteer service work, he received CentraCare Health Foundation’s “Spirit of Caring” award (2002). His alma mater, Grinnell College, honored him with an alumni award (2013) that recognizes graduates who distinguish themselves by embodying the college’s mission of lifelong learning and service.

Two weeks after retiring from Central Minnesota Surgeons, Dr. Van opened Occupational Medicine Clinic where he evaluated patients with disabilities, from which he retired in December, 2013, for health reasons.

When he wasn’t in the operating room, the clinic, or an airplane, Dave enjoyed singing in the church choir, being with family and friends, international travel, occasional golf, skiing, and tennis, working out at the YMCA, and fishing and canoeing with buddies. He especially enjoyed sharing his passion for Gopher games, cribbage, and chess.

Dave was a member of First United Methodist Church, Rotary, and President of the St. Cloud Area Family YMCA Board of Directors. He was certified by the American College of Surgeons and the American Academy of Disability Evaluating Physicians. He was also a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association and the Flying Physicians Association.

In addition to his wife, Catharine, he is survived by his sister, Carol Louise Van Nostrand (Jacki DelFavero); his daughters Laura Susan Caviani (Pete Whitman), Minneapolis, MN, Catharine Louise Van Nostrand (Peggy Miller), Minneapolis, and Maren Thyra Van Nostrand (Byron Ricks), and his granddaughter Julia Ricks, Carnation, WA; his nephews Robert E. Van Nostrand, David B. Van Nostrand, and Charles M. Van Nostrand; and his great nephews Jackson and Ryker Van Nostrand. David was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Rev. Manning E. Van Nostrand III.

In lieu of flowers, the family prefers memorials to Wings of Mercy Minnesota, PO Box 1921, Maple Grove, MN 55311; to the St. Cloud Area Family YMCA, 1530 Northway Dr., St. Cloud, MN 56303, or to the First United Methodist Church of the St. Cloud Region.

For more about David’s life and last few days with us, please visit

The family is grateful to Country Manor Rapid Recovery Rehab and to St. Croix Hospice for their supportive and professional care.