Vern R. Stewart died peacefully in his sleep at Immanuel Lutheran Home December 15, 2018.
Vern, born October 11, 1926, to Gilbert and Stella (Sheely) Stewart in St. Edward, Nebraska was raised on a farm near Newman Grove, NE, along with seven siblings. Vern graduated from Newman Grove High School in 1944. During his high school years, his involvement in drama included lead parts in several plays. He also belonged to the Future Farmers of America.
Immediately after high school, Vern entered the military and served until November, 1948. He began his enlistment by attending the University of Wyoming, majoring in engineering for three quarters, and then went on active duty with the U.S. Army Air Force. After his discharge, Vern returned to the University of Wyoming and graduated in 1951 with a B.S. in animal science. As a charter member of the Wyoming Chapter of FarmHouse Fraternity, he served as Chapter secretary. Continuing his education at Wyoming, he received an M.S. in agronomy in 1952 and later did additional graduate work at the University of Minnesota from 1958 to 1960.
After earning his M.S., Vern accepted an appointment as assistant in agronomy at the Montana State University Northwestern Agricultural Research Center, located near Kalispell, MT. In 1970, MSU selected him to be superintendent. Throughout his tenure he advanced through the academic ranks and became full professor in 1982. He retired as Professor Emeritus of agronomy on January 31, 1991, after 39 years of service to Montana State University.
During his career, Vern was an active member of the American Society of Agronomy, the Crop Science Society of America, the Weed Science Society of America, and the Western Weed Science Society. He received a number of awards during his career, including the prestigious Blue and Gold Award from Montana State University and an Honorary Chapter Farmer Award from Flathead High School.
Vern married his college sweetheart, Carol Yocum, on April 7, 1946 in Gering, NE . They subsequently celebrated the birth of three children: Roger in 1947, Kathleen in 1950, and Tamera in 1960. Throughout his life, Vern’s priorities were God, family, career, and church. He spent 50 years at Central Christian Church where he taught Sunday school, led youth groups and conducted Bible studies, and served as an elder at the church for many years.
Vern’s involvement in community activities lasted throughout his lifetime. He was a charter member of the Creston Volunteer Fire Department, clerk of the local school board, and a member of the Kalispell Chamber of Commerce, serving as chair of the program for the Flathead Farm Show for several years. He held several offices in the Eastside Grange and volunteered at Kalispell Regional Medical Center for many years. He also served as the local coordinator for AARP tax aid.
Vern, known as a good friend to many, also faithfully attended his children’s and grandchildren’s school activities. Well respected for his integrity and willingness to serve others, Vern will be sorely missed.
Vern was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Lyle and Keith Stewart, and sisters Wilma Schultz and Carol Brashear.
He is survived by the following family members: his wife Carol; his son Roger and Gayl Stewart of Dodgeville, WI, grand-daughter Heidi and Dave Gering and great-grandchildren Kailey, Kendra, Keegan, and Korbin of Waunakee, WI; daughter Kathy and Tom Holkeboer, grand-child Timothy, Bellevue, NE, Benjamin of Rapid City, SD and Naomi of Kansas City, Kansas. Granddaughter Hannah and Dan Tate and great-grandchildren Jonathan, Luke, Philip, Issac, Mathew and Samuel of Omaha, NE; daughter Tamie and Tom Jentz and grand-children Patrick and Kathryn of Kalispell, MT, Daniel and Stefanie Jentz of Anchorage Alaska. He is also survived by his sister Laurel Morris, of Omaha, NE; his brothers Guy Stewart of Green Valley, AZ, and Glen Stewart of Albion, NE, and many nieces and nephews.
The funeral will be held at the new Chapel at Buffalo Hill Terrace, 40 Claremont Street, Kalispell at 10am on Wednesdsay December 19, 2018. Burial will be in the Conrad Memorial Cemetery followed by a lunch at Faith Covenant Presbyterian Church 611 3rd Ave. East. Kalispell.
In lieu of flowers Vern had requested that donations be sent to “Stillwater Christian School” 255 FFA Drive, Kalispell, MT 59901