Burlington - Vern Emerson, 92, passed away Friday evening, December 15, 2017 at the UVM Medical Center, surrounded by his loving family. He was a member of what Tom Brokaw referred to as The Greatest Generation, having served as a combat infantryman in Europe during World War II. He considered himself fortunate to have survived the Battle of the Bulge in Belgium during the winter of 1945.
Vern was born in Westfield, MA. on November 8, 1925, the son of Ralph W. Emerson and Georgia W. Emerson. He attended the public schools in Westfield, MA. until drafted into the Army in 1944. Following the war, he returned to Westfield where he met and married the love of his life, Barbara Anna Wolfe. He attended and graduated from Indiana State University in 1952 while Barbara completed her training as a registered nurse. Vern had a successful career at the General Electric Company, as a mechanical design engineer retiring in 1984.
Vern and Barbara were avid skiers, serving for many years on the National Ski Patrol at the Smuggler's Notch ski area. They were also highly competitive sailors racing their Lightning sailboat for many wins out of the Mallett's Bay Boat Club and elsewhere in New England. In 1989, Vern and Barbara became involved in the musical theater productions of the Lyric Theatre Company. Vern served as the Set Engineer and Barbara frequently was responsible for set decoration. Vern's technical ability and vision for what might be possible resulted in countless magic moments of stagecraft at the Flynn Theater for the Performing Arts.
Over the years, Vern and his family became close friends of Ken and Jean Wolvington and their children. The two families shared many years of outings, church life, and theater. Vern, Barbara, Jean, and Ken enjoyed many skiing excursions in Colorado and Europe and sailing vacations in the British Virgin Islands.
Vern was predeceased by his wife, Barbara, in 2013 and his granddaughter Verna C. (Fields) Hallock, in2016. He is survived by his sister Mable Johnson of Westfield, MA., his children, Claudette Emerson and Willey Ouimet of Toronto, Ontario, Paula Dunnivant of Burlington, Verna Thomas and Robert of Colchester, Kurt Emerson and Donna of Jericho, and Belinda Emerson and Julianne Nickerson of Underhill, Daughter-in-law Sue Santor of Jericho as well as 10 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren and 2 great great grandchildren.
A Celebration of Vern's Life will be held at United Church of Underhill on Saturday Dec. 23, 2017 at 11:00 am In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Christ Church Presbyterian, Burlington, VT, to the Lyric Theatre Company, or to the favorite charity of the donor. Online condolences can be share at www.gregorycremation.com.