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Vernon Wernecke

Vernon Wernecke

The United community was saddened to learn of the passing of Vernon Wernecke at 95 years of age in December 2012. Vernon was a friend and supporter of United during his lifetime, including United in his estate plans as well.

Vernon credited his parents for inspiring his sense of generosity: "Our parents set a good example that even if you don't have much, you can still help someone who has even less than you do." The oldest of nine siblings, Vernon grew up in the Manitowoc and Sheboygan areas of Wisconsin during the Great Depression and had deep roots in the German Reformed Church.

His brothers Glenn, a graduate of both United and Mission House Seminary, and Winston, who graduated from Mission House, became church pastors. The Wernecke family has established the Calvin and Leona Wernecke Endowment at United in honor of their parents.

Vernon was a lifelong hard worker. As a teen, Vernon worked on the family farm and was a chauffeur, groundskeeper, and caregiver to a person who had multiple sclerosis. In 1941, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and served as a medic until he was cleared for top-secret duty. His knowledge of German led him to he became a code-breaker, for which he received the Bronze Star.

After the war, Vernon worked in the auto parts industry and later assisted in his parents' apple orchard business, starting a door-to-door apple business in Sheboygan that continued for 40 years. Vernon loved classical, big band, polka music, and enjoyed trips to the national parks and doing volunteer work with the Sierra Club.

Vernon may be gone, but his commitment to United is ever present because of his planned gift naming the seminary as a beneficiary in his estate. "Even if you don't have much, you can still help..."

United deeply appreciates Vernon's foresight and support.


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