Vernon George Pickert

Vernon George Pickert, 92, of Gardner, passed away April 10, 2021 at Villa St. Francis Hospice Care, Olathe.

Vernon was born on Jan. 26, 1929 in a small farmhouse in Scipio, Kan., His parents were J. Albert Pickert and Blanche Kipper Pickert. When he was one year old, the family moved to Richmond, Kan. Vernon attended schools in Richmond, graduating in the high school class of 1947.

After school, he began working as an electrician, wiring farmhouses and small commercial buildings. While working for the REA as a linesman in Burlington, Kan., he received a notice from the draft board and was inducted into the Army on Dec. 10, 1948. He was sent to Ft. Riley. After 14 weeks of basic training, he was sent to Korea on a troop ship, landing at Pusan, Korea. He was assigned to the Headquarters Battery of the Seventh Infantry Division Artillery Fire Direction Center. He served as an Operation Sargent for his time in Korea. He attended an outdoor Christmas Eve Mass with Archbishop Spellman in 1949. After this experience, he vowed to never spend a Christmas Day doing anything but going to Mass and being with his family for the rest of his life. He succeeded in this promise to himself. When he returned to the states he was assigned to Ft. Riley. While there, he received notice that he had been awarded a Bronze Star for Meritorious Service in Korea.

On Aug, 10, 1953, he married Evelyn Alice Roeckers at St. Theresa Church in Richmond. They moved to Gardner where Evelyn was a primary school teacher. During their life spent in Gardner, Vernon and Evelyn were members of Sacred Heart Church, later Divine Mercy Parish. While there, Vernon was asked to be a caretaker of St. Columbia Cemetery, which he was for 30 years, with help from Viola McConnell and Henry Hadle. He was a long-time member of the Knights of Columbus. He served eight years on the Gardner school board and was a member of the Gardner City Council for 10 years, where he was a soft-spoken, yet often heard, voice of reason and compromise. He was also a member of American Legion Post 19 and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 11234.

He was a member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 226 in Topeka for 65 years, retiring in 1994. The miles of wire run and fixtures installed are beyond comprehension. Suffice to say, the world is a brighter place due to his skills.

He was for many years an avid golfer, once scoring a hole-in-one at Gardner Golf Course, on a hole that he helped build with many other community members. He also worked for many years, again teaming with many community members, to help establish a Veterans Memorial at Veterans Park, across from his home of 50+ years.

Vernon and Evelyn were the parents of five children – Donna (Loren) Goss of Emporia, Angela (Gary) Lindsey, Martina (Keith) Tinsley of Gardner, Daniel Pickert of Coolidge, Kan., and Douglas (Janet) Pickert of De Soto. They also had 13 grandchildren (Catherine, Deanna, Alicia, Laura, David, Jeffrey, Stacy, Steven, Meredith, Claire, Rachel, Benjamin, and Erin) and 14 great grandchildren.

Vernon was preceded on his journey back to his Lord by his wife Evelyn, daughter Angela, sister Imelda, and infant brother James. He is survived by four children, grandchildren and great grandchildren, brothers Adrian Pickert (The Woodlands, Texas) and Larry Pickert (Overland Park, Kan.) and sisters Henrietta Mersman (Overland Park), Delores Oswald (Overland Park) and Rilla Ann Mersmann (Eureka, Mo.), as well as numerous nieces and nephews.

Funeral Mass will be held at 10 a.m. April 16, 2021 at Divine Mercy Catholic Church, Gardner. Burial at St. Columbia Catholic Cemetery, Gardner. Visitation at Bruce Funeral Home, Gardner, will begin with a Recitation of the Rosary at 4 p.m. Thursday, April 15, followed by visitation until 7 p.m. Memorial contributions may be made to St. Columbia Cemetery or Divine Mercy Parish. Condolences may be left at  Arrangements:  Bruce Funeral Home, 106 S. Center Gardner, Kan.  66030 .