Vernon Johnson, Jr., 85, passed on to the Lord Oct. 22, 2017, at Heritage Estates in Gering. A memorial service will be Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017, at 10:30 a.m. at the Gering United Methodist Church with a reception to follow. In lieu of flowers, Vern asked that donations be made to the Gering United Methodist Church building fund.
Vern was born April 19, 1932, at home in Merna, to Vernon and Inez Johnson. The family moved to the Johnson Quarter Circle Ranch in Dunning, when Vern was in seventh grade. Vern was an avid pilot, earning his license at age 16 and purchasing his first plane at age 17. Vern graduated from Dunning High School in 1949, where he enjoyed playing basketball.
On Sept. 19, 1953, Vern married Elva June Miller of Broken Bow. Vern and Elva raised three daughters Valerie, Vickie and Vanessa. Vern joined the Nebraska State Patrol in 1955 in Chadron, eventually attaining the position of corporal before a promotion to sergeant and then a transfer in 1970 brought him and his family to Gering. Unwilling to remain idle in life after retirement in 1986, Vern continued to stay busy mowing fairways at Monument Shadows Golf Course, growing the largest tomatoes imaginable in his garden, and working on intricate projects in his woodshop. He was particularly pleased to offer his skills to his church, Gering Methodist, and Cadence ministries, producing hundreds of crosses for servicemen overseas. The highlight of each and every year was the winter hunting season spent with his friends and family in the morning and then watching the Cornhuskers play in the afternoon.
Vern is survived by his wife, Elva June Johnson of Gering; daughter Valerie (Joel) Bailie of Bend, Oregon; daughter Vickie (Ernie) Meier of Ogallala; daughter Vanessa (Jeff) Wagner of Omaha; sister Shirley Gouldie of Dunning; grandchildren Zach (Jill) Bailie, Lindsey (Dan) Schreiber, Jordan Meininger, Brandon (Jessica) Bailie, Jacob (Shelby) Wagner, Aubrey Wagner, Taylor Meier and Christina Wagner; and great-grandson Parker Bailie. He was preceded in death by his parents, Vernon and Inez Johnson.
There will never be anyone quite like Vern. From the way he talked to the way he loved his family. We were blessed to have Vern as a husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He was so loved and will be terribly missed.