Vernon E. Stundahl, age 92, passed away on Friday, Jan. 17, 2014, at the Butterfly Homes Assisted Living Facility in Billings.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Tuesday, April 22, 2014, at Zion Lutheran Church in Glendive, with Pastor Avis Anderson officiating.
Vernon was a family man, sports guy, dedicated church and community member, and salesman.
When Vernon was 4 years old, his father died of tuberculosis. With two older brothers to guide him, he became an avid player of games and a sports enthusiast. During family get-togethers, it was card games and horseshoes that he enjoyed with his brothers. With natural and developed talent, he became an essential team member of each sport he chose. On his high school basketball team, he was a starting forward and often high scorer, according to many Twin Valley, Minn., newspaper clippings. In baseball and softball he was the pitcher and a heavy hitter. In the Army, he ran track and participated in the high jump and poll vault. He also boxed a bit, but not for long, he admitted. He played softball until he hurt his back in the early 1960s. After that he could be found behind the home plate umpiring Little League. He continued with basketball, playing for Zion Lutheran's team in the Church League. As a bowler, he was the anchorman and holder of many trophies for high series and tournament winnings. His house was full of bowling trophies. The last sport in which he participated was horseshoes, at which he was the Montana state champion one year. As a big game hunter, he was probably one of the best shots in Dawson County. A sought after hunting companion, he ensured all game tags were used by the end of the day.
Vern loved his church and his community. A member of Zion Lutheran for over 40 years, he was a deacon and a participating member in many church activities. As a Kiwanis member, he served the community in many ways, helping with fund raisers and projects. As a veteran and member of the Glendive VFW and American Legion Post, he supported his fellow veterans and served a tour as the VFW’s Post Commander. Vern loved his job and the people he'd meet everyday. As a salesman, he principally sold himself. A general comment heard from his clientele was that they visited the store to visit with Vern and to buy something. The something that they would buy could probably be found elsewhere and less expensive, but they' d miss seeing Vern if they shopped around.
Vern's professional aspirations started with his studies at an accounting school in Minneapolis just before the commencement of World War II. He was completing his practicum and preparing for his CPA exam when he was drafted. From 1942 until 1946 he served in the Army Air Corps, attaining the rank of sergeant and flying in missions from Burma and India over the Himalayas into China. This effort was known as "Flying the Hump" and provided much-needed supplies including gasoline to operating forces in China. During Vern's time in the Army, his mother remarried and moved from Minnesota to Montana. Upon returning to the U.S. at war's end, Vern and his brother Delly, who served in the Army in the Pacific, joined his widowed-again mother and brother Sylvey with his family in Circle. There Vern met his future wife Agnes Wolf, and married in September of 1946.
After holding numerous jobs, Vern became employed by the CO-OP Grocery in Circle. Using the GI Bill he completed Butchers School and became the CO-OP’s manager, a good fit for an accounting academic and newly christened butcher. The continuing recurrence of strep throat kept him from spending a butcher's necessary time in the cooler, so he sought other employment. About the same time, Hagenston Hardware was opening an expansion store in Circle and Vern became that store's manager. A change in personnel offered Vern an opportunity to move to Glendive as manager and part-owner of Hagenston's Hardware in Glendive in 1956. There he worked until retirement.
Vern and Agnes enjoyed their infrequent family get-togethers very much and traveled to see their boys in Japan, Spain, California and North Carolina. They also enjoyed recreational travel to Europe, Hawaii, Asia and aboard a cruise ship to the Caribbean.
Vern and Agnes moved to Billings in 1997, after one of their vagabond sons, Darrell, moved there and from all appearances, intended to stay. They joined the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and attended services there faithfully until unable to travel due to diminishing health.
Vernon was preceded in death by his parents Alfred and Hannah Josephine (Underdahl); his wife Agnes (Wolf); his son Steven; and two brothers, Sylvey and Deily. He is survived by his sons Jerry and Darrell; Jerry and his wife Anne (Maugans) reside in California, and Jerry's son Jarrod with his wife Jennifer (Garman) and sons Aiden and Ethan currently reside in Germany; Darrell and his wife Donna (Alexander) reside in Billings, and Darrell's daughter Jaleh Stundahl resides in California; his sister Violet (Stundahl) Bozich resides in Seattle; and numerous nephews and nieces.
Memorials may go to Zion Lutheran Church in Glendive at 401 Riverview Ave., Glendive, MT 59330.