Joel Van Dover


April 2, 1962 - March 8, 2019


Joel Van Dover, 56, of Mitchell died Friday, March 8, 2019 at Avera Mckennan Hospital in Sioux Falls from complications of influenza A and pneumonia. Funeral services will be 10:30 AM Wednesday, March 13, at Northridge Baptist Church in Mitchell.  A memorial service will be held 2:00 PM Sunday, March 17, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Aberdeen, SD. A burial will be at a later date in Aberdeen.  Visitation will be Tuesday from 5-7:00 PM at Northridge Baptist Church. Arrangements by Bittner Funeral Chapel.

Joel Jay Van Dover (Big J) was born in Aberdeen, South Dakota on April 2nd, 1962. He attended grade school, middle school and high school in Aberdeen, and graduated from Aberdeen Central High in 1980.  He attended USD, and transferred to Brown Institute in Minneapolis and graduated with a degree in Mass Communications in 1983.  He then moved to Mitchell, South Dakota and started his employment at KMIT Radio where he has been employed ever since. In 1982 he met and married Pamela Engelland. The couple had a daughter, Amy, in October of 1983.  Later in life in December of 2012 he welcomed a son Harrison (Hank) with Emily Kisor (Dice). 

Joel participated and was active in many community events in the Mitchell area. He believed in giving back to his community, family and friends.  He loved fishing, he was an avid Washington Redskin and Kansas City Royals fan, and enjoyed watching and following many sports teams locally and nationally.  He attended Minnesota Twins, and Vikings games with his parents as often as possible.  Joel spent many years fishing and enjoying Richmond Lake in Aberdeen at his parent’s lake cabin. Joel was a music lover and attended many concerts in his free time with his daughter and friends.  He was always fun loving, happy and a jokester.   Even in grade school and high school he was always pulling pranks and having fun with his friends.  Joel was active in the A.A. and N.A. community and believed in helping people in their recovery. Big J loved God, his family, friends, country music, and Tom Petty. 

Joel is survived by his daughter, Amy Joelle Stemper; grandchildren, Emma Kay Stemper and Patrick Stemper; son, Harrison (Hank) Floyd Van Dover; parents, Phil and Kay Van Dover; sister, Kimberly Van Dover-Holmes; nieces, Hayley and Lizzy (Adam); nephew Monty; two great nieces, Willow and Gabriella; half-brother, Bob Larson (Pam); niece Corina; and many loving aunts, uncles and cousins.  He was preceded in death by his maternal and paternal grandparents, and niece Kira.



Tuesday, March 12, 2019
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Northridge Baptist Church
323 W 23rd Ave
Mitchell, SD 57301
Sunday, March 17, 2019
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Memorial Service at 2:00 PM

Bethlehem Lutheran Church
1620 Milwaukee Ave NE
Aberdeen, SD 57401


Wednesday, March 13, 2019
10:30 AM
Northridge Baptist Church
323 W 23rd Ave
Mitchell, SD 57301


At a Later Date in Aberdeen, South Dakota

Posted by Vonda Klein Geidel on March 30, 2019
Thank you! For all those long nights In LA !
You were an awesome announcer for Lake Andes speedway! You’ll be missed by so many, not just because of your voice . But because that smile on your face and you said hi to everybody You ran into. Rest in peace. I hope you’re enjoying your mansion
Posted by Erin Thomas on March 13, 2019
Thank you Big J for all your years of great music, the best music personality & for having an amazimg daughter and great family. Fly high Big J & know that you will NEVER EVER be forgotten.
Posted by David Mehlhaff on March 13, 2019
To many, Big J was that funny guy on the radio. To me he was much more. We worked together on the air at KMIT in the mid 80's and worked hard and played hard together. We were brothers and even long after I left KMIT, whenever we talked, we just picked right up where we left off. His sense of humor, wit and voice impressions were like no other. You couldn't NOT laugh being around J. We last talked a few weeks ago and it was as always sprinkled with comedy. I loved Joel and his loss is felt by many. My prayers are with Amy, Hank and the rest of his family.
Posted by Jeaneth Larsen on March 13, 2019
I used to get called " Big J" by my classmates at school. I had a senior shirt that had big j written on it since that was my nickname
Posted by Sandi Bradwisch on March 13, 2019
Miss you now will see you on the flip side we will sing his praises forever
Posted by Nancy Jarabek on March 12, 2019
Keep playing those great records in heaven our friend .. You will be missed ...
Posted by Kimberly Heisinger on March 12, 2019
Mitchell radio will never be the same without Big J. There will be an empty spot on the Corn Palace stage during the festival. Big J was the BEST.
Posted by Wayne and Carol Carstens on March 12, 2019
We didn't know Big J personally but loved listening to him on the radio. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family. KMIT will never be the same!!
Posted by Wayne Allen on March 12, 2019
So sorry to hear about Joel, I have known him for many years and always enjoyed his talents and humor. May he Rest In Peace...
Posted by Kristy Meyer on March 11, 2019
Mitchell radio will never be the same Always loved listening to the Big J Will be missed
Posted by Kelly Pirtle on March 11, 2019
When God made Joel Van Dover, he broke the mold for sure!!! There was never a more jovial soul! I had the sweet pleasure of working with Big J when KMIT began. Joel's talent and gift for comedy was unsurpassed by any other. He made work fun every single day. We became close friends. He and Pam blessed me with babysitting their beautiful daughter, Amy on several occasions. Amy was as funny as her Daddy for sure! My heart is breaking for Hank and Amy and the family and friends and thousands of people that J has touched throughout his short time here. My memories are of him are filled with joy! He made me laugh like no other!!!
My thoughts and prayers are with Hank, Amy and the grandchildren!! The Legend of Big J is now with his Lord and Savior, Most likely making Heaven Laugh!!! Rest in Peace My Friend!!!!
Posted by Kristy Vobr on March 11, 2019
So sorry about your loss my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family and friends!!! So sorry to hear about Joel Van Dover's Rip Big J !!!!
Posted by Kristy Vobr on March 11, 2019
So sorry about your loss my thoughts and prayers are with him and his family and friends!!! So sorry to hear about Joel Van Dover's Rip Big J !!!!
Posted by Shawn Travis on March 11, 2019
I had the wonderful opportunity to work with Big J when I worked on at Kool98/KMIT for a short period of time in 2005-2006 he was always very kind, funny, caring, and helpful to a new person. Loved running the board when he was doing live remotes. R.I.P Big J
Posted by Jeff Heppler on March 11, 2019
Even though hundreds were listening, he had a way of communicating on the radio, when I listened it felt like he has having a conversation with me....that's special.
Posted by ROBERT AND DOROTHY PARKER on March 11, 2019
Posted by Tammy Felix McGregor on March 11, 2019
What a loss! Prayers to all!
Posted by Allan burns on March 11, 2019
You will be miss by us all. You had a heart of God and made us laugh. I remember you stopping by my house after you knee surgery and you had your young grandson I believe with you. You asked me if it would be ok for him to to get his picture with my lifted green dodge. God bless you and your family.
Posted by Laurie Young on March 10, 2019
Thinking of Joel’s family. Such a familiar voice for Mitchell. Will miss hearing him on KMIT.
Posted by Kori Clarambeau on March 10, 2019
Big J you will be missed by so many, you made my nephew Kyle feel so special (when I forgot to call in his birthday) I was able to get the message to you through a mutual friend and you played a special song for him!! Knowing Kyle is very "special" to our family, you made him feel even more special Big J. You had that way about you! Hot summer days will not be the same with out his "chaffing index". Prayers go out his family and KMIT
Posted by Deb High on March 10, 2019
Thanks for the memories, Big J.
Posted by Janelle Guericke on March 10, 2019
Sympathy and prayers to his family. I don’t think anyone would argue that KMIT will never be the same. Radio was definitely his calling. I had the opportunity to do the markets with him for years and must admit I missed that part when I left that job. He had a way of putting a smile on everyone’s face. Thank you Big J. You will be missed!
Posted by Val & Dawn Luckett & Family on March 10, 2019
Emily, Amy and Hank and families you are all in our thoughts and prayers Big J will be missed by many and you all have a special angel looking down on you
Posted by Tonya Stroud on March 10, 2019
Big J I am so going to miss you. You always made me laugh and smile when I heard you on the radio or posts on facebook. I'll never forget you giving Ruth and I tickets to go see Willy. Fly high Joel love ya. You were a fighter!
Posted by Sandi Ruml on March 10, 2019
The shock and sadness we all feel is overwhelming. Joel you were blessed with a wonderful family, friends and job. You did what you wanted and will always be remembered as the funniest, kindest, caring, amazing man by us all. To your parents, your children, grandchildren and friends you left quite a legacy my friend. You will never be forgotten. Go rest high upon that mountain!
Posted by Jackie Christiansen on March 10, 2019
I will miss hearing Big J's voice on the radio. To his family and his KMIT family, you have my deepest condolences
Posted by Nancy Erickson Foreman on March 10, 2019
Heaven just got a little brighter. RIP my friend. You were always the life of the party, and treated everyone fairly and with respect. I will always remember you and your jokes and pranks. God bless
Posted by Sarah Tracy on March 10, 2019
My deepest sympathies!! Praying for you all!!
Posted by Robert Voss (Bobby v) on March 10, 2019
Big J you will be Missed very much by all who know you. We had some interesting Conversations and share that Same love of Country Music. May you Rest In Peace my Friend and watch over us all. To Your family Sending my Condolences he was a Great Inspiration and an amazing DJ
Posted by Deb Sterzinger on March 10, 2019
We were all so lucky to have you for the time that we did. I will cherish every memory of you and the laughs and smiles!
Praying for your family.
I love you Big J!!
Posted by Lisa Mathis on March 10, 2019
Amy and family,
So very sorry to you on the loss of your dad! He was one heck of a guy and God knows he had been through a lot. We are all going to miss him! Peace Love Joy!
Posted by Roxie Ackman on March 10, 2019
I will miss your smiling face and your big hugs. I know you and Robin will be looking down helping us all through our trials and tribulations. You will be missed.
Posted by Shirlee Burmeister on March 10, 2019
Blessings to the family, Big J was a great man and father! RIP
Posted by Stan ruff on March 10, 2019
I did not know Big Jay real personally just by hearing him on the radio and seeing him every now and then at Thirsty's or wherever but when I heard this I could not believe it I actually did break down and cry very very sad he will be greatly missed rest in peace Joel miss you man
Posted by Diane Moke on March 10, 2019
KMIT will never be the same..Rest in Peace Big "J"...Blessings to family and co workers...
Posted by Tom Riddle on March 10, 2019
Such a big piece of Mitchell and surrounding area ,great person ,so much to say,but all I can think is how blessed we were to have him.
Posted by Mark Harrington on March 10, 2019
Big J was a very wonderful person ..All the people who knew Joel loved him very much and God needed an angel so he took the Big J
Posted by Tammy Stemper on March 10, 2019
Amy I am so sorry,this made me cry for you he was a great pa pa and a amazing person,I am lost for words,just love you,
Posted by Linda Neugebauer on March 10, 2019
He was an amazing man. Loved to talk to him because he always made me laugh! My thoughts and prayers are with you all!!
Posted by Sharon Broghammer on March 10, 2019
Continuous prayers coming your way continuously at this time for comfort and healing . May ALMIGHTY FATHER wrap him in His arms make Joel an guardian angel looking over all of us. If theres anything I can do feel free to ask.
Posted by Charlie & Wanda Kobes on March 10, 2019
So sorry for your loss . Joel will be missed by everyone that was blessed to know him !!! He always there for everyone !!!!
Posted by Marge wagner on March 10, 2019
That is so sad he will be missed by everyone sympathy and prayers to the family
Posted by Darin Moke on March 10, 2019
I'm beyond blessed for being able to call Big J a friend. An "On-Air" institution has been silenced. He'll be sorely missed...
Posted by Ron peterson on March 10, 2019
My life is better knowing a friend like you RIP
Posted by Doug and Penny Hohbach on March 10, 2019
Prayers for the family in the loss of a special DJ and overall great person.
Posted by Bobby Pruitt on March 10, 2019
Awesome person Big J always had a smile and a good word for everyone. Prayers to his family and love ones
Posted by Teresa Hetland on March 10, 2019
I know for certain that we never lose the people we love, even to death. They continue to participate in every act, thought and decision we make. Their love leaves an indelible imprint in our memories. We find comfort in knowing that our lives have been enriched by having shared their love. Wishing you peace to bring comfort, courage to face the days ahead and loving memories to forever hold in your hearts.
May you be comforted by the outpouring of love surrounding you. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family during this very difficult time. ✝️
Posted by Skip Guindon on March 10, 2019
Hang in there little Hank, your pa was a good friend, an a awesome Dad...Remember he will always be looking down to protect you.....>
Posted by Melissa Hines on March 10, 2019
He touched many lives & will be deeply missed!
Posted by Irma Zimmerman on March 10, 2019
I had the pleasure of meeting "Big J" when moving to Mitchell in 1975. We had many memorable times. Will always remember him as a dear friend that always had a big bear hug for me. One of the best DJ's ever, in my book. Fly high and my deepest sympathy to daughter and family and especially Hank! He will miss his Daddy so much ! RIP!
Posted by Charolette Peterson on March 10, 2019
Thoughts and prayers for the family. He will be missed very nice person. 🙏🙏
Posted by Michelle Rickett on March 10, 2019
I am so sorry to hear this! He was such a nice guy! My thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends.
Posted by Peggy Weber on March 10, 2019
I am so sorry to hear of Big J's passing. I had the opportunity to work with Joel in the past at KMIT & KOOL98, and had fun working with him. He had a fantastic sense of humor, and was a friend to everyone he met. The listeners of KMIT are going to greatly miss him. Thoughts and Prayers are going out to the whole family.
Posted by William watkins on March 10, 2019
Fly high!
Posted by scott dey on March 10, 2019
gonna miss you my friend and fishing buddy catch some big ones up there
Posted by Patty Salo on March 10, 2019
Praying for the family. Rip Joel. Always looked forward to seeing you at our class reunions
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