By HDN Staff
CHESTER Vern Olaf Anderson, 74, died Friday, Nov. 30, 2001, at a Salt Lake City hospital of natural causes.
Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Wednesday at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Chester. A luncheon will follow. Graveside services with military rites will be 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at Trinity Church Cemetery 17 miles north of Lothair.
Vern was born on the family homestead north of Lothair on June 11, 1927, to Algot and Hulda (Norling) Anderson. He grew up on the farm and attended the Eagle Creek Country School near there. He graduated from Chester High School in 1944 at 16, then attended Northern Montana College in Havre for a short time.
As a bachelor during his early farming years, Vern traveled to Arizona and California in the winter months to work in the vegetable and fruit farms there.
Vern married Patsy (Jackson) Bloch on Dec. 11, 1958, at Galata. They made their home in the Chester community where Vern farmed and worked part time as a field man for the Federal Crop Insurance Corp. for 10 years. In addition to raising Pat's three children, the couple had three sons of their own. They divorced in 1970.
Vern married his second wife, Marjorie Heggen, in 1974. Their marriage also ended in divorce. Vern continued farming until 1983. During these years in the Hi-Line community. He also worked on various survey and power line construction crews.
Vern moved to Helena in 1984, where he worked in maintenance at several youth homes under the "Green Thumb" program. He was affectionately nicknamed "Mr. Fix-It" by his friends and co-workers at the homes. Vern retired in 1992 and continued to make Helena his residence. His health failed in 1997, so he moved to the Veterans Home in Columbia Falls. Following his recuperation in 1998, he moved back to Helena. He recently became ill and was admitted to the Fort Harrison Veterans Hospital.
Vern was baptized and confirmed at the Trinity Lutheran Church north of Lothair and maintained his membership there. He also was a member of the Galata American Legion.
He enjoyed many hobbies over the years. He collected rocks and arrowheads, liked to prospect for gold near Helena, listened to country music, and enjoyed fishing. Vern was an avid reader and history buff, and was especially fond of World War II literature and current events. He also enjoyed small engine repair and working on antique farm equipment. Early in his life, he had aspirations of becoming an engineer. In later life, he had a continued sense of wonder about modern technology. He maintained a love for learning, so was an avid fan of CNN, history, and educational television.
A highlight of his retirement years was a trip to Alaska in 1992, when he traveled with friends on the 50th anniversary of the Al-Can Highway. Vern was a gentle man who loved to visit. He always looked for positive things in people and situations and was a good listener.
He was preceded in death by his parents and a half-brother, Herb Anderson.
Survivors include his sons, Scott (Wendy) Anderson of Mukilteo, Wash., Terry (Susan) Anderson of Campbell, Calif., and Collin Anderson of Chicago; stepchildren, Tom (Connie) Bloch of Williston, N.D., Steve Bloch of Seattle, and Jean Flynn of Berkeley, Calif.; sisters, Victoria Staudacher and Lilly Oraw both of Chester; four grandchildren; six stepgrandchildren; five nephews.
Memorials may be made to the Trinity Lutheran Church, the Trinity Church Cemetery or the donor's choice.
Arrangements are by Rockman Funeral Chapel, Chester.