Vernon Ray Berry of Anthony was born August 16, 1942 in Harper, Kansas and passed away on February 26, 2019, after a lengthy but courageous struggle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Vernon was the third child of Benjamin Frederick and Dorothy Marselle (Fox) Berry. Waiting to welcome him home were brothers John Otis and Karl Russell. Later, brother Clifton Dean and sister Lydia Lavina arrived to complete the family.
Vernon joined the Navy in 1960, serving as a jet mechanic at Whiting Field, Fla VT-2 and Naval Air Station Guam, VAP-61. He was discharged in March of 1965.
He worked at Cessna and Jayco Trailers before re-enlisting in 1972 as a cook. He served on several ships including the USS Coronado, USS Independence and USS Moctobee and was a plank owner of the USS DeWert. He was last stationed at Naval Air Station Dallas, where he retired in 1988.
Vernon returned to Anthony in 1989 to be close to family. He was employed by the City of Anthony with the power plant. He transferred to the water department and then to the parks department before retiring in 1999.
Some of Vernon's hobbies were hunting, fishing, bowling and gardening. His greatest passion was working on old cars.
Vernon enjoyed 28 years of sobriety and was very proud of his association with Alcoholics Anonymous.
Always giving and helpful, one of Vernon's good deeds had very happy consequences. In 1992, Vernon offered to help a stranger move her daughter. Vernon introduced himself to Rhonda Swafford, saved the day and won her heart. They were married on April 2, 1994. They enjoyed almost 25 years of marriage going fishing, going to auctions, music festivals and many wonderful road trips as their health allowed.
Vernon was preceded in death by his parents; brother, John; brother-in-law, Doug Moore; sister-in-law, Jackie Berry; brother-in-law, David Jefferis; niece, Lindsey Beck; and nephews, David Berry and Tommy Morris.
Surviving are his wife, Rhonda Berry of the home; daughter, Laquita Harris and companion, Todd Wanko of Newkirk, Oklahoma; step-daughter, Peggy Swafford-Lundin and husband, Richard of Savannah, Georgia; brothers, Karl and Cliff of Anthony; sister, Lydia Moore of Salina; sister-in-law, Bette Berry of Anthony; sister-in-law, Suni Archuleta and husband, Tony of Hazelton; grandsons, Marshall Harris and Josh Swafford; granddaughters, Haley and Paige Lundin; several nieces and nephews; and many other relatives and friends.
Funeral services were held 11:00 a.m. Saturday, March 2, 2019 at Prairie Rose Funeral Home in Anthony with Larry Dean Olds Jr. officiating. "Some Day" by Blue Highway and "Go Rest High on that Mountain" by Vince Gill were played. Ian Biggs played "Amazing Grace" on the bagpipes.
Burial with military honors by the U.S. Naval Honor Guard followed at Burchfiel Cemetery. Casket bearers were Christopher Beck, Larry Berry, Kevin Kilian, Karl E. Berry, Branden Berry, Juan Archuleta and Joseph Archuleta.
Memorials in memory of Vernon may be made to Heartland Hospice or the Burchfiel Cemetery and may be sent in care of the funeral home.
Prairie Rose Funeral Homes, 602 E. Main St., Anthony, KS 67003, was in charge of arrangements. www.prairierosefuneralhomes.com