Wallace Gail Vernon (1926-2020)

Oct 1, 2020


Wallace Gail Vernon, 93, of Eldon, Missouri, died Thursday, Sept. 24, 2020, in Eldon. He was born Nov. 23, 1926, in Eldon, the son of the late Chester S. and Lois A. (Smith) Vernon. On Sept. 9, 1951, in Eldon he married Marjorie Ann (Tompkins) Vernon, who preceded him in death on March 30, 2015.

Wallace was publisher of the Eldon Advertiser for more than 60 years and wrote a weekly column, “Publisher’s Corner,” sharing his thoughts about the Eldon community and his family’s adventures.

He was president of Vernon Publishing Inc. — a newspaper publishing company that, in addition to The Eldon Advertiser, published The Miller County Autogram-Sentinel, The Versailles Leader-Statesman, The Morgan County Press, The Tipton Times, The Highway Five Beacon and The Index in Hermitage, Missouri.

Wallace served as president of Missouri Press Association in 1973, was inducted into the MPA Newspaper Hall of Fame in 1994 and was a recipient of the Missouri School of Journalism Medal of Honor.

Graveside services will be held with military honors at 1 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 3, at the Eldon City Cemetery with the Rev. Bill Fogelson officiating. In light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the family asks that everyone adhere to CDC guidelines by practicing social distancing and wearing a face covering.

Memorials are suggested to the First Christian Church of Eldon, 102 S. Aurora St., Eldon, MO 65026, or the Missouri Press Foundation, 802 Locust St., Columbia MO 65201.

Arrangements are under the direction and care of Phillips Funeral Home of Eldon.

Wallace served as alderman for the City of Eldon, was on the board of directors of Mercantile (later U.S.) Bank in Eldon, was a past president of the Eldon Lions Club, a member of the First Christian Church of Eldon where he taught Sunday school classes, was past president of the Central Missouri Press Association, past president of the Missouri Press Association and was a regional director of the National Newspaper Association. He visited the White House on several occasions as a member of the media. He was a member of the American Legion and VFW.

He was especially proud of being named an honorary member of the Eldon FFA.

He enlisted in the military at Jefferson Barracks in St. Louis on July 31, 1944, and entered service on April 3, 1945, as a private. On May 23, 1945, he turned down an option to be discharged after the defeat of Germany and agreed to service until after the defeat of Japan. He served with the 43rd Air Repair Squadron, European Air Depot in France from Nov. 25, 1945, until Dec. 10, 1945, and in Germany from Dec. 10, 1945, until Sept. 6, 1946. He was honorably discharged from the Army of the United States on Oct. 12, 1946, as a S/Sgt. Administrative NCO and honorably discharged from the Air Force Reserves on Sept. 21, 1949. He was the recipient of the European, African and Middle Eastern Theatre Ribbon, WWII Victory Medal, Army of Occupation Medal-Germany and the Good Conduct Medal.

He loved water activities and sitting on the beach. His hobbies included painting and working with stained glass. He had a showing of his works at the Royal Theatre in Versailles, and he took home a first-place prize at an art show in Jefferson City with one of his oil paintings. He also played violin with the Lake Area Community Orchestra and played at a granddaughter’s wedding at age 93. He was a licensed private pilot. He enjoyed watching the martins (birds) arrive at his birdhouses in the spring of the year, and he enjoyed traveling with his family to almost all of the U.S. and several foreign countries. He was a cheerleader in high school and played the French horn in the band.

He was known by his family and friends as DoDo (pronounced like the bird).

He is survived by three children: Greg and Pam of Batesville, Indiana; Dane and Sharene Vernon of Eldon, Missouri; and Patti and Gerard Dudenhoeffer of Holts Summit, Missouri; 10 grandchildren: Lucas Dudenhoeffer, Nick Dudenhoeffer, Jacob Dudenhoeffer, Zack Dudenhoeffer, Annie Dudenhoeffer, Trevor Vernon, Timothy Vernon, Erin Reder, Jeffrey Vernon and Kathleen Miklius; and 16 great-grandchildren: Riley Reder, Liam Reder, Charlotte Reder, Adalynn Reder, Travis Haslag, Jacob Mortensen, Carliegh Mortensen, Lucas Dudenhoeffer, Aubriegh Dudenhoeffer, Lilli Vernon, Owen Vernon, Olivia Vernon, Claire Vernon, Jackson Dudenhoeffer, Micah Dudenhoeffer and Edison Dudenhoeffer; five nephews, and two nieces.

A brother, John E. Vernon, preceded him in death.