Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

Vern Hammond

 

Vern Hammond passed away peacefully in his sleep in Centennial, Colo., at the home of his daughter, Vernita, on April 21, 2017.

He was born December 7, 1922, in Aurora, Neb., to Carl Glen Hammond and Leota (Turner). His family moved to Midwest, Wyo., in 1923 where his dad worked in the oil fields. The family moved to Thermopolis in 1932 where they live on Owl Creek and the children attended the Middleton School. Some of his fondest memories where "cowboying" as a young man at what was then the Padalock Ranch. Vern was also a decorated WWII veteran--he was attending Colorado State College of Agriculture (now CSU) when he was drafted to serve in the Army Air Force. He flew 35 missions over France and Germany as a ball turret gunner in a B-17.

After his service he returned to Thermopolis in 1945, married the love of his life, Billie Mansikka, and raised their family. He worked for Empire Oil at Hamilton Dome, had his own mechanic shop, and was the transportation supervisor for the school district. He also contracted his own school bus, had the canyon route since 1947, and frequently drove sports teams, the pep club and band to events all over the state. He was an active member of the Baptist church, the VFW, Gideons International and the Masonic Lodge. They moved to Cheyenne in 1975 where Vern was employed by Warren Air Force Base until his retirement in 1987. Vern and Billie moved to Flagstaff, Ariz., in 2001 until Billie's death in 2012. Vern had been living with his daughter in Colorado since then. Vern was a loving husband and father, and a servant of God. He loved to camp, hunt, fish and travel. He and his wife visited all 50 states.

Vern is survived by his sister, Joanne Spear of Billings, Mont .; daughter Vernita Lewis (Kelly) of Centennial, Colo .; grandchildren Ryan (Ling) and Brittney; great-grandchildren Kylah, Belle, Ryder, and Lily; and many nephews and nieces.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Billie, of 67 years; son, Dean, and siblings, Curtis Hammond, Gertrude David, Jim Hammond, George Hammond, and Jean Nielsen.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 27, 2017, at 11:00 a.m. at The First Baptist Church, 310 S 6th St, Thermopolis, WY 82443. A reception at the church will immediately follow the service.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Honor Flight Northern Colorado in Memory of Vern Hammond (flight #10) at The Community Foundation, 711 8th Avenue Greeley, CO 80631, 970-454-5660 or http://www.honorflightnortherncolorado.org. Their goal is to enable WWII and other qualified Veterans to make an expense free trip to Washington, D.C. to visit the memorial dedicated to honor their service and sacrifice.

 

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