A private family graveside service will be Saturday for Vernon Francis Waner, who died Sunday at his home in Marion.
Vernon was born Dec. 3, 1926, to Andy and Frances Waner in a small dirt-floor house just east of Florence.
When Vernon was 6 weeks old, his family moved to the OK Ranch, where Vernon’s father became foreman. He spent his childhood on the ranch.
He attended District 22 School, then in 1939 attended Catholic school in Florence.
When his father passed away in 1940, Vernon had to return to country school and finish eight grade at age 14 with all of his older brothers married or in the military.
Vernon had to take over as foreman of OK Ranch. He took pride in the fact that he was able to run the ranch, send his younger sister, Dorothy, through high school, and care for both her and his mother.
Vernon met the love of his life, Henrietta Stika, at a cake walk at the Youngtown School northeast of Marion.
They were married Nov. 14, 1951. They lived on various rental properties until settling down on her parents’ farm northeast of Marion for a number of years.
During this time, Vernon continued as foreman of the OK until he was able to move his mother off the ranch and into Florence in 1953.
At that time, Vernon left ranching and became a farmer along with holding jobs at Reynolds Aluminum, Marion’s alfalfa mill, the Riddle quarry, Florence quarry, and Kansas Power and Light, and helped build concrete culverts on US-77.
Vernon quit farming in 1993 and by that time had been working at Marion Die and Fixture for 13 years.
Vernon and Henrietta moved to town in 1969. He retired from Marion Die and Fixture in 2000. Retirement was spent fishing and helping his kids with one project or another. Vernon and Henrietta also enjoyed several bus trips to go gambling.
Vernon and Henrietta were proud parents of five children, David, Carol, Darrell, Michael, and Steven. They loved attending school functions and ball games and continued this tradition with their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. They spent their lifetime worrying about their children and grandchildren and doing anything to help them.
Vernon enjoyed helping his children and often could be found tinkering around in his garage or their garages fixing stuff.
Vernon was proud of his garden and although he grumbled about it, he made sure to fill Henrietta’s dozens of flower pots each year and would diligently water her flowers. He continued taking care of some of her flowers after her death and always made sure to decorate her grave, especially for her birthday, their wedding anniversary, and Valentine’s Day.
Vernon was a member of the Knights of Columbus. His Catholic faith was very important to him, and he enjoyed serving as an usher when needed.
He enjoyed fishing at the lake with his brother, children, and grandchildren.
He also enjoyed going to dances with Henrietta. The pair could be seen doing Polka or waltzing throughout their entire marriage.
Family was very important to both Vernon and Henrietta. When Henrietta passed away in July 2017, Vernon lost the love of his life.
Along with his dear wife, Henrietta, Vernon was met in Heaven by his parents and siblings John, Paul, Bob, George, Ruth, and Dorothy, along with brothers- and sisters-in-law.
He is survived by sons Dave (and wife Tena) Waner of Marion, Darrell (and wife Holly) Waner of Chicago, Mike (and wife Tina) Waner of McPherson, and Steve (and wife Traci) Waner of Marion; daughter Carol (and husband Craig) Leppke of Hillsboro; nine grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren.
Memorials have been established with the Father Kapaun Fund and Marion County Lake heated dock.