Vernon Kerner, 72

Funeral Services for Vernon Kerner age 72 of Gregory, South Dakota, were held on Friday, June 18 at 10:30 a.m. at St John Lutheran Church, Gregory, SD. Burial followed in the IOOF Cemetery of Gregory. There was a prayer service at 7 pm on Thursday night at the church.

Vernon V. Kerner of Gregory, SD, passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, June 12, 2021, at the age of 72 years.

Vernon was born March 19, 1949, to Oscar and Olena (Klundt) Kerner in Burke, South Dakota. He attended country school at Buffalo Creek and graduated from Gregory High School in 1967. He was confirmed in the Lutheran faith at Grace Lutheran Church in Burke.

He entered the US Navy in May 1969 as a dental technician and did one tour in Vietnam.  In the middle of Vernon’s Navy career, he met his partner of 47 years, Charlotte DeVos. Vernon was honorably discharged from the Navy in 1973 and married Charlotte in Sheffield, Illinois on Feb. 15, 1974. In 1976 the couple moved back to Gregory, SD, to spend their married years.

Vernon worked the majority of his life at Country Pride until he retired in 2015. Even in retirement Vernon didn’t slow down and never seemed to realize what retirement was. He stayed busy helping local farmers and ranchers and most recently he enjoyed helping out at North Forty Ag.

Vernon and Charlotte were blessed with two children – Robin (1979) and Kelly (1984).  Robin joined the Army through ROTC and Kelly went into ranching. Vernon was extremely proud of both of his children’s professions. The military and ranching lifestyle were two of Vernon’s passions. He loved going to visit Robin at her various duty stations and most recently attended Robin’s promotion to Lieutenant Colonel in May. He enjoyed going up to Kelly’s place to help out with the cattle and did this often. Both Robin and Kelly went on to have children and for Vernon, his grandchildren were a great source of pride. His four grandsons kept him active and he enjoyed taking them fishing and hunting. He would drive four hours to watch his grandsons play football and basketball. He also had fun playing board games where his grandkids would make up their own rules.

He was preceded in death by two brothers, Joseph and James Kerner; his parents; his nephew Joshua Shaw, his niece Cheyenne Cernetisch; his brothers-in-law Earl Cernetisch, Terry DeVos, and David Gillespie, and his sisters-in-law Julie DeVos and Patsy Kerner.

He is survived by his wife Charlotte; their two children Robin Cushing (Richard Cushing) and Kelly Kerner (Kim); his grandsons Tyler Kerner, Riley Kerner, Levi Cushing, and Hunter Cushing; his five brothers and sisters: Don (Edith) Kerner, Eugene (Joan) Kerner, Verna Cernetisch (his twin sister), Curtis (Kari) Kerner, and Janice (Gary) Travnicek; and his beloved nieces, nephews, cousins, sisters- and brothers-in-law, as well as many longtime friends.

Vernon was an active member in the St. John Lutheran Church. In addition to his family, Vernon loved spending time with friends during morning coffee. Vernon was known around Gregory for telling great jokes and his storytelling was legendary. One of his favorite jokes was since he was a twin, he was born first to show Verna the way. Vernon was always on the go and after he retired he enjoyed buying some toys like his RV, Kawasaki side-by-side, and his new F150. One of his favorite companions was his dog Duke and it was common to see Vernon and Duke in the side-by-side cruising around town. Vernon didn’t like to just sit and relax, so if you caught him sitting it was either in church, at the dinner table, or in his recliner sleeping. Vernon enjoyed life and lived his life to the fullest.

A favorite quote was “We ride and never worry ’bout the fall, I guess that’s just the cowboy in us all.”  Vernon will be greatly missed.

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