Vernon G. “Vern” Olson, age 92, of Watertown, passed away Saturday, June 28, 2014, at Westwood Place Assisted Living in Watertown.
He was born May 20, 1922, in Wessington Springs, SD, the son of Abel and Laura (Christopherson) Olson. Vernon was baptized and confirmed in the Lutheran faith.
He grew up on a farm, and graduated from Wessington Springs High School.
Vernon enlisted in the United States Navy Reserves in August 1944, and trained at the Great Lakes Naval Center, which was followed by schooling at Virginia Beach, VA for radar operation. From Houston, TX, he was assigned to a brand new ship the LSM487. His tour of duty took Vernon through the Gulf of Mexico and the Panama Canal, to Pearl Harbor, Guam, Saipan, and the Philippine Islands. He was in the middle of the ocean, coming into the Philippines, when he heard that World War II had ended.
After his discharge from the Navy in 1946, as a Tech 3rd Class, Vernon was manager of a department grocery store for Habichts in Wessington Springs for nine years. He then attended South Dakota State University at Brookings, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in pharmacy in 1959.
He worked at Humphrey’s Drug Store in Huron, SD from 1959 to 1962, at which time he moved to Watertown, MN, where he became part owner of Harms Pharmacy. Vernon retired in May of 1989, after working 38 years.
Vernon was united in marriage with Bernice Renando Aug. 17, 1947, at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Wessington Springs. The couple had one son, Mark, who works as a hospital pharmacist at Allina Buffalo Hospital.
Vernon was an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church in Watertown, where he served on the council in various offices, sang in the church choir, and was an usher. He was also active in the community, where he was a member of the Watertown Lions Club and the Eugene Earley American Legion Post 121, serving as post chaplain for several years.
Vernon was preceded in death by his parents, Abel and Laura Olson; and all of his siblings Orville, Agnes, Leona, Andrew, Frances, and Lilly.
He is survived by his loving family: wife Bernice Olson of Watertown; son and daughter-in-law Mark and Debra Olson of Winsted; grandchildren Kirsten (Darwin) Paccha of Cuenca, Ecuador, and David (Nicole) Olson of Sioux Falls, SD; great-grandchildren Daniel Paccha and Nathan Paccha; as well as other relatives and many friends.
A memorial service took place Wednesday, July 2 at 2 p.m. at Trinity Lutheran Church in Watertown with the Rev. Marilyn Breckenridge as officiant, and the Rev. Shannon Bauer participating. There was visitation at the church Wednesday, one hour prior to the service. Interment was in Prospect Hill Cemetery in Wessington Springs, SD.
Arrangements were with the Johnson Funeral Home in Waconia; www.johnsonfh.com.