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Vernon Lee, 82 Print E-mail
Written by TRF Times   
    Thief River Falls - Vernon Lee, age 82, loving husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather died Monday, April 30, 2012 at the Thief River Care Center, Thief River Falls, MN.


Visitation will be held on Friday, May 4, 2012 from 5:00 PM until 7:00 PM with a 7:00 PM prayer service at Johnson Funeral Service in Thief River Falls, MN. Visitation will also be held one hour prior to the funeral service at the church on Saturday.


Funeral services will be held at 10:30 AM, Saturday, April 5, 2012 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Thief River Falls with Rev. John Voelker officiating. Burial will follow at Greenwood Cemetery in Thief River Falls.


Vernon Oliver Stinar Lee was born on January 28, 1930 on the Erickson farm in Argyle, MN, the son of Hjalmer and Alma (Blinsmon) Lee. The Lee family moved to New Main Township near Newfolden, MN when he was young, and later into the town of Newfolden.  He was baptized in the Lutheran faith and confirmed on October 29, 1944 at Bethlehem Lutheran Church in Newfolden, MN, 1944.


Vernon attended school in Newfolden and graduated from there in 1948.  In May of 1951, Vernon entered the Service with the United States Army as a telegraph operator, stationed in Whittier, AK.  He served his country until he was honorably discharged in May of 1953. 


On June 21, 1952 Vernon was united in marriage to Gloria Johnson at the Nazareth Lutheran Church in Holt, MN.  After their marriage, Vernon and Gloria made their home in Minneapolis, MN while Vernon worked for United States Steel.  They returned to the Holt area where they lived for a year, and started their family, welcoming their first daughter, Rebecca.  Upon arriving in Holt, Vernon worked for Edgar Horien doing carpenter work.  The couple moved to Thief River Falls in 1954 where he worked for Husky Oil pumping gas.  In 1956, they welcomed their second daughter, Rhonda.  For thirty years, Vernon moved up the ranks at his job and saw many changes of ownership.  Having worked as a bookkeeper and manager, when the opportunity arose to purchase the business in 1978, he did, naming it Thief River Oil.  He and daughter, Rhonda worked side by side until his retirement. 


Retirement didn’t mean quitting work for Vernon.  He worked for 20 years as the assistant Gambling Manager at the American Legion Post #117 in Thief River Falls.  This was a job he took great pride in doing well. 


Vernon was very active in the American Legion, both in the local post and in the Ninth District.  He served two terms as the Post Commander for Post #117 in Thief River Falls, and served three times as Adjutant there also.  He served as post 117 Membership Chairman for over 15 years.  From 1993 – 1994 he served as Ninth District Commander.  He also served as Ninth District Adjutant three times, and also was Chaplain, and Sergeant of Arms.  For 10 years, he was the leader of the Godfathers Rally, a membership turn-in for the Ninth District. 


He was a life member of the American Legion Post #117, an honorary member the Lions Club, and a member of the VFW Post #2793.


Vernon served for five years as manager of TRFinettes all girl drum and bugle corps, traveling to many parades and contests.  He treated all 75 girls as though they were his own.


Vernon served for 12 years on the Pennington County Fair Board – 2 years as President and 2 years as Secretary.  In previous years he served as president of the Bowling Association, on the Board of Trustees at Trinity Lutheran Church, and on the Lions Board.


Vernon loved to keep an immaculate yard which he was very proud of.  At Christmastime he would spend many hours decorating and would love to watch the cars slow down to look at his home.


He will be remembered as a wonderful husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather with a great love for his family.


Vernon is survived by his loving wife of 58 years, Gloria of Thief River Falls, MN; children, Rebecca (Rocco) Wilson of Cambridge, MN, and Rhonda (Jeff) Joppru of Thief River Falls, MN; grandchildren, Kevin Wilson of Shoreview, MN, Kara Wilson of Cambridge, MN, Darrin (Allison) Wilson of Shoreview, MN, Lisa Joppru of Fargo, ND, and Kristi Joppru of Detroit Lakes, MN; great-granddaughter, Lilianna Wilson; sisters, Avis Nelson of Newfolden, MN, and Betty Nelson of Thief River Falls, MN; as well as many nieces, nephews, cousins, relatives and good friends.


He was preceded in death by his parents, Hjalmer and Alma Lee;  brothers, Jasper Lee and his wife, Phyllis and Avery Lee and his wife, Doris; brothers-in-law, Provencer Berg, Alfred Nelson, and Marvin Nelson.


Accompanist:  Marilyn Wigness

Special Music:  Jeff Liden ~ “On Eagle’s Wings”

Congregational Hymns:  “Here I Am Lord” & “One Day At A Time”

Casketbearers:  Richard Kruta, Perry Oien, Virgil Wagner, Jerry Odegaard, Wallace Vagle, John Columbus, Greg Brekke, and Buzz Olson

Honorary Casketbearers:  All American Legion Family and All Friends and Family in Attendance Today.

Military Honors: American Legion Ecklund-Holmstrom Post #117, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post #2793 & Minnesota Army National Guard Honor Guard