Vernon Russell Gross was born Oct. 15, 1919, in Tracy, Minn., the son of Herman and Ella (Ray) Gross. Vernon's father died when Vernon was 2 years old. The family then moved back to Iowa and lived with his maternal grandmother.
Vernon attended country school and graduated from Kingsley High School in 1937. Vernon worked on the family farm until being drafted into the U.S. Army in October 1941. Vernon served his country in the States in the Field Artillery for two years and then two years overseas in Wales, England, France and Belgium. He served on the Red Ball Express hauling equipment from Cherbourg, France, to the front lines. Vernon proudly served his country during World War II, earning many service medals.
In September 1948, Vernon married Ruth Clark in a double wedding ceremony with their close friends, Bill Rector and Theoan Kniseley. Ruth and Vernon farmed for many years on a rented farm southeast of Kingsley and in 1968 they purchased a farm south of Kingsley. In 1972, they moved into a new home built on their farm site. Ruth died in November 2003.
Vernon was a lifelong member of the Church of the Brethren in Kingsley.
He was a founding member of the Brookside Golf Course and served on the board of directors for four years. Because of Vernon's many contributions to the Kingsley Golf Course, some friends honored him with a recognition night and a sign between holes 4 and 7 that reads, "Vernon's Valley." As an avid golfer, he was proud to have shot a hole-in-one at the Rolling Hills Golf Club in Tempe, Ariz.
Vernon was proud to be a farmer and was a 50-year member of the Plymouth County Farm Bureau. He was a skillful card player, with euchre being his game of choice. Vernon was a big fan of auto racing and at one time raced go-carts.
Vernon is survived by three nephews, Marlin (Gale) Noble and Lynn (Diane) Gross, all of Sioux City, Jeff (Rozanne) Gross, of Marcus, and one niece, Joyce (Floyd) Pfaffle, of Kingsley. He is also survived by one sister-in-law, Irene Vannorsdel, of Dubuque, and several great nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Ruth; infant sister, Dorothy; one brother, Claude Gross; two sisters, Helen Page and Elda Shever; step-father, Roscoe Vannorsdel; three step-brothers, Paul Vannorsdel, Max Vannorsdel, and Donald Vannorsdel; two step-sisters, Charlotte Pratt and Thelma Bainbridge; and half-brother, Dana Vannorsdel.
Funeral services will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday at the Congregational United Church of Christ in Kingsley, with the Rev. Robert Blair officiating. Burial will be at the Kingsley Cemetery. Visitation will begin at 2 p.m. today (Friday) at the Johnson-Earnest Funeral Home in Kingsley, with the family present from 6-8 p.m. A prayer service will be held at 7 p.m. There will also be one hour of visitation at the church prior to the service on Saturday.
Expressions of sympathy may be directed through www.mauerjohnsonfh.com.