Parker, Vernon Frederick

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Born:      November 9, 1932 in Sundown Twp., Redwood Co., MN
Death:     March 15, 2022 in Blackduck, Beltrami Co., MN
Burial:     Frohn East Side Cemetery, Frohn Twp., Beltrami Co., MN
Findagrave:   237612335
Spouse:  Myrna Joyce Andersen
Parents:  Frederick William Parker, Sr. and Helga Marianne Andersen

Memorial Service Link

Vernon Frederick Parker, Aug 2020
Photo: © 2020 Kathy Joy Parke

Obituary:

Vernon Frederick Parker was born November 9, 1932 to Frederick William Parker, Jr. and Helga Marianne (Andersen) Parker at the Parker farm in Sundown Township, MN on the day that FDR’s presidential win was announced. Vernon always liked to say he and FDR came into power together.

Vernon grew up on the farm and remembered farming with horses and the day his dad bought the first tractor. He also recalled the family’s first car, a 1930 Model A Ford. Thereafter, Vern was always a Ford man.

Vernon began schooling at the District 13 country school in Sundown Township. He attended Maplewood Academy in Hutchinson for 3 years starting in 1947. Later, he took a Bemidji State University course on Henry Ford. In later years, Vern became an avid reader on a variety of subjects and his acquired knowledge probably surpassed many college educated folks.

At Maplewood, he met a pretty lil’ gal, Myrna Andersen, who was seated beside him in biology class. She was a good student and found Vernon’s class room antics annoying! But when they bumped into each other a few years later, Myrna warmed to Vernon’s charm and they went on a date – thereafter they kept in touch. They were married on May 9, 1954 at the Maple Plain Seventh-day Adventist Church.

After a honeymoon to Loveland, Colorado, they returned to Minnesota where Vernon was inducted into the U. S. Army on June 8, 1954. He was first stationed at Fort Sam Houston in Texas and then transferred to Fort Lewis near Tacoma, Washington where he worked at Madigan Army Hospital as an orderly. While there, Vernon and Myrna’s first child, Kathy was born.

Vernon was discharged on June 7, 1956 and the family returned to Minnesota, settling in Island Park. Vern worked at Mammoth Furnace Company in St. Louis Park until the spring of 1957 when they moved to a farm near Springfield. Soon after, David and Holly were added to the family. To supplement income, Vern also drove school bus for a few years. Early in 1963, the Parkers moved to Morgan and during this time, James joined the family.

In 1966, Vernon and Myrna purchased a farm 10 miles north of Blackduck at Busy Corners where Vern farmed for his remaining years. At Blackduck, Scott joined the family after several foster children were also added: Becky, Calvin, Alvin, Marvin and Margie White. In addition, Myrna and Vern hosted many BSU foreign students. To supplement farm income, Vernon also worked a while for the Federal Forestry, maintaining various properties including his favorite spot, Shogren Dam.

Throughout life, Vernon was always fun-loving and he enjoyed roller skating, music, talking about family and history. He was an avid reader, devouring farming, Ford, history and mission story books. He loved stock car races and had a hot rod that he tinkered on all of his life. Annually, Vern trekked to the Steam Threshers Reunion in Rollag and attended the Beltrami County Fair where he enjoyed the music on the Shutter Stage. In his later years, Vern often cooked, serving up his delicious pressure-cooked beans or the best potato pancakes ever eaten. Vernon enjoyed traveling, sometimes making a trip with his trucker sons or taking a jaunt down memory lane with his “girls” to what he called “home country” where he’d grown up.

Vern loved to share Ole and Lena jokes and he had a variety of witty phrases that were often heard such as sending you off after a good visit with a hearty, “You come good home now!”

Vernon maintained a steadfast walk with God through life, being a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church since 1944. As a young person he attended church at Morgan and later his family attended the Northome and Bemidji churches. Vern talked often of the day when Christ will return to raise the dead from their peaceful slumber to join those who are still living and journey to the splendor of heaven to be forever with God and those we love. Vernon hoped that each of his family and friends would be a part of that glorious day!

Vernon had long hoped to see his 90th birthday but he and his family trusted that God knew best. After treatment in Fargo, ND for a serious stroke, he returned to his beloved Blackduck where he lived one more day. On the afternoon of March 15, 2022, after listening to several of his favorite songs and scriptures, he slipped into a slumber where he will be awakened by his dear Jesus someday.

Remembering a life well lived are Vernon’s wife, Myrna; children Kathy (Roy) Parke, David (Deb) Parker, Holly (Bob) Ewert, James Parker and Scott (Sylvia) Parker; foster children Becky (Tom) Gregory, Calvin (Val) White, Marvin White, Margie (Alford) Brown; 17 grandchildren; 15 great-grandchildren; a brother-in-law, Randy (Nancy) Andersen; many cousins and a host of precious friends. Those preceding Vernon in death’s slumber include his parents, Fred and Helga, an infant sister Mari Anne and a foster son, Alvin White. Vernon was the last of 7 Parker cousins. And, of 35 Andersen cousins, 30 preceded Vernon in death and 4 survive him.

Services will be conducted on April 1, 2022 at 1:00 pm by Pastor Ken Mayberry at the Seventh-day Adventist Church, 4400 Eckles Rd. NW, Bemidji, MN. Visitation and viewing will take place March 31, 2022 from 5:00-7:00 pm at Cease Funeral Home in Bemidji and also one hour prior to the funeral at the church. A lunch will be served afterwards.

Memorials are preferred to:
Maplewood Academy, Hutchinson, MN – Scholarship Fund
Adventist Frontier Missions – Kyle and Cindi Tumberg Fund

Life Sketch (as read at the funeral April 1, 2022):

Vernon Frederick Parker was born November 9, 1932 to Frederick William Parker, Jr. (the son of English immigrants) and Helga Marianne (Andersen) Parker (the daughter of Danish immigrants). Vernon was their second child, the first having been a stillborn daughter. Due to a blizzard, Vern’s parents couldn’t get to the hospital so Vernon was born at the Parker farm in Sundown Township, Minnesota on the day that FDR’s presidential win was announced. Vernon always liked to say that he and FDR came into power together.

Growing up on the farm, “Sonny,” as he was affectionately dubbed by his mother, played with his faithful dog, “Shep,” and the cousins who lived nearby. He helped his dad with farm work and assisted his mom with her large garden and her chickens – a job he did NOT particularly enjoy! Vern remembered farming with horses and the day his dad bought the first tractor – a “Massey-Harris 101 Junior”. He also recalled their first automobile, a 1930 Model A Ford. Thereafter, Vern was always a Massey man and a Ford man.

In May 1940, Vernon’s mother, Helga, joined the Seventh-day Adventist Church and Vern often accompanied her to Sabbath School and church services, riding with their neighbor, Adelia Jensen to the little Brookville/Morgan Adventist Church. (Adelia’s granddaughter is coordinating our lunch today.) On October 7, 1944, at Granite Falls, Minnesota, Vernon and his father, Fred, were also baptized into the Seventh-day Adventist Church by Helga’s nephew, Pastor Ervin Sorensen.

Vernon began schooling at the District 13 country school in Sundown Township. In the fall of 1947, he started attending Maplewood Academy, a Seventh-day Adventist boarding high school in Hutchinson for 3 years. He had started piano lessons during grade school and continued lessons at Maplewood with Mrs. Charlotte Link where she taught him one of his favorite songs, “Sunday Girl’s Chalet” by composer/violinist Ole Bull. Vernon enjoyed social life at school more than the educational opportunities. He often told of the time that he, his friends and their dates sneaked a car out of the garage of faculty member, Cecil Conquest. Unfortunately, they were caught and the boys’ punishment was to haul manure out of the school barn by hand with horses and a manure spreader – thereafter they were called the “Sunshine Boys.” Cecil Conquest must have still thought a great deal of Vernon, however, because it was Cecil and several of Vernon’s academy buddies who took time one summer to build a new barn for the Parker farm and the barn still stands! Vernon didn’t complete the 12th grade but several years later, he did take a 1 credit college course at Bemidji State University – on Henry Ford! In the later years, Vern became an ardent reader on a variety of subjects and his acquired knowledge probably surpassed many college educated folks.

At Maplewood, Vernon met a pretty lil’ gal, Myrna Andersen, who was seated beside him in biology class. She was a good student and found Vernon’s class room antics annoying! But when they bumped into each other again a few years later, Myrna warmed to Vernon’s charm and they went on a date – thereafter they kept in touch. By 1954 they had planned a June wedding but Vern was called to U. S. Army duty so the wedding was moved to May 9, 1954. They joined hands in the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Maple Plain, Minnesota attended by their friends whom they had introduced on a double date, Harriet Andersen and Wes Anderson. (Wes and Harriet also later married and the two couples remained friends for the rest of life.)

Unfortunately, both Myrna and Vernon were “sick as dogs” on their wedding day! Myrna had strep throat and Vern had a cold and was sniffling during the wedding prayer. So, they spent a week recuperating at home before they left on their honeymoon to Loveland, Colorado in Vern’s little 1946 Maroon Ford Business Coupe.

After returning home, Vernon was inducted into the U. S. Army on June 8, 1954. He was first stationed at Fort Sam Houston in Texas for Basic Training. At home leave time, all the men were told to NOT bring two things back with them after leave – cars and wives. So they all brought back their cars and wives, including Vern! Summer in Texas was HOT and many recruits cooled off in the swimming pool which Vern tried but the lifeguards had to pull him out when he was going down! So he didn’t try that again!

Later, Vernon was transferred to Fort Lewis near Tacoma, Washington where he worked at Madigan Army Hospital as an orderly, rotating through various areas. When they placed him in the ER, he almost passed out so that was the end of that location! At Fort Lewis, Vernon and Myrna’s first child, Kathy, was born. On June 7, 1956 Vern was discharged and the family returned to Minnesota. When he reflected on his Army years, Vern would often say, “There’s a right way, a wrong way, and the Army’s way!”

Back in Minnesota, they settled in Island Park with Vernon working at Mammoth Furnace Company in St. Louis Park until the spring of 1957 when they rented a farm near Springfield. Soon after, David and Holly were added to the family. To supplement income, Vern also drove school bus for a few years. Early in 1963, the Parkers moved to Morgan and during this time, James joined the family.

In 1966, Vernon and Myrna purchased a farm of their own 10 miles north of Blackduck at Busy Corners where Vern farmed for his remaining years. At Blackduck, Scott joined the family after several foster children were also added: Becky, Calvin, Alvin, Marvin and Margie White. In addition, Myrna and Vern hosted many BSU foreign students.

Vernon worked the land at Busy Corners with his Massey Ferguson farm equipment and managed a good-sized Holstein dairy herd until 1991 when he sold the cattle. Like all farmers he faced challenges, one year losing several cattle to a lightening strike. In 1977, while chopping silage, he caught his right hand in the chopper, severing 4 fingers which were repaired. In a 2007 accident, he was caught between two tractors when one rolled backwards. After a year’s worth of surgeries on his right leg to insert steel rods and other hardware and a stint in rehab, he was back at farming again, joking that he was going to open a hardware store with all that hardware in his leg. To supplement the farming income, Vernon also drove the milk truck for the Blackduck Creamery and he worked for a time with the Federal Forestry, maintaining various properties including the Lost 40 and his favorite area, Shogren Dam. Being a lover of the great outdoors, he was never a fan of daylight savings time and called it “crazy time” and wondered why they didn’t just stick with “sun time.”

Throughout his life, Vernon was always fun-loving and enjoyed roller skating, playing piano and trumpet, singing, attending concerts, and listening to music – especially his favorite artists, Jim Reeves and Daniel O’Donnell. He delighted in talking about family and history and he was an avid reader, devouring farming, Ford, history and mission story books. He loved stock car races and had a hot rod that he tinkered on all of his life. Annually, Vern trekked to the Steam Threshers Reunion in Rollag and attended the Beltrami County Fair where he enjoyed the music on the Shutter Stage. In his later years, Vern often cooked, serving up his delicious pressure-cooked beans or the best potato pancakes ever eaten. Vernon enjoyed traveling, sometimes making a trip with his trucker sons or taking a jaunt down memory lane with his “girls” to what he called “home country” where he’d grown up.

Vern often loved to share Ole and Lena jokes and he had a variety of witty phrases that were often heard. If he was finishing a meal, he’d say, “Well, if that’s supper, I’ve had it!” When you left after a good visit, he’d send you off with a hearty, “You come good home now!” and if he had a visitor he didn’t particularly enjoy, he’d say “Some folks bring joy when they arrive and others when they leave.” If you were upset with him, he’d say, “Don’t leave mad, just leave!” When life went awry but eventually worked out he’d say, “All’s well, that ends well.”

Vernon maintained a steadfast walk with God through life – after marriage he and his family attended the Seventh-day Adventist Churches in Lamberton, Morgan, Northome and Bemidji. He often talked of the day when Christ will return to raise the dead from their peaceful slumber to join those who are still living and journey to the splendor of heaven to be forever with God and those we love. Vernon hoped that each of his family and friends would be a part of that glorious day!

Vernon had long hoped to see his 90th birthday like his grandpa Parker had done, but he and his family trusted that God knew best. After two weeks of treatment in Fargo, North Dakota for a serious stroke, he returned to his beloved Blackduck where he lived one more day. On the afternoon of March 15, 2022, after listening to several of his favorite songs and scriptures, Vernon slipped into a slumber where he will be awakened by his dear Jesus someday.

Last fall, in 2021, Vernon and Myrna had joined their daughters in a tour of southern Minnesota where Vern, at long last, was able to see the Loring Park statue of Ole Bull in Minneapolis. If you look at the center of your bulletin, you’ll see him with arms raised, directing the symphony as Ole plays the violin. Then, traveling on to “home country” in Sundown Township, Vern saw a life-long dream come true. His stillborn sister had laid in an unmarked grave at Sundown Lutheran Church for 92 years. With son, James, joining Vern and his “girls”, they laid a marker and named the little sister, Mari Anne, after his mother’s Danish middle name. On that beautiful sunny day, Pastor Ken Mayberry and his wife, Karen, provided a meaningful service complete with lovely music. Little did any of them know that soon Vern would be sleeping in Jesus like his sister. The family is so grateful for that precious time together and that the trip was not postponed another year. Our prayer for each of you is that you embrace every day with your families and that you look forward to spending an eternity with them and our dear Jesus.

We’d like to now share with you Ole Bull’s “Chalet Girl’s Sunday” – a Norwegian song about a young maiden who must miss going to church because she has to stay home and tend the sheep. It will be followed by the song that Ken and Karen Mayberry sang for Mari Anne’s service last fall.

Chalet Girl’s Sunday Music