Vernal George Bartels

Vernal George Bartels, 81, a resident of Fond du Lac, passed away peacefully at home, surrounded by his family, on May 21, 2014. Vernal was born on April 20, 1933 in the Town of Adrian, Monroe County, to parents, George and Mildred Bartels.

Vern was a graduate of Tomah High School in 1951. He served in the Naval Reserve at Great Lakes from 1950 to 1952. On September 6, 1952, Vernal enlisted in the United States Air Force and served during the Korean War, until September 6, 1956. He served as a driver, wingman, and aide to the Colonel at Riverside, CA.

After serving his country, Vernal returned to Wisconsin and worked on farms and the Army Reserve training base at Camp McCoy, (now Fort McCoy) until 1966 when he was employed at the Job Corp Center at Camp McCoy.

On March 31, 1967, Vernal Married Patricia Ann Yeske at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Tomah, WI. They had two children, a daughter Verna and son Rodney.

In 1972 Vernal attended Western Wisconsin Technical Institute earning as Associate Degree in Agribusiness-Chemicals and Fertilizers. He then attended Madison Area Technical College, earning an Associate Degree in Marketing. Thereafter, Vernal worked for corporate vegetable and mint farms in central Wisconsin. After retiring he worked part-time for J.F. Ahern Company.

During his entire lifetime, Vernal was an avid fisherman and hunter in Wisconsin, Montana, Kentucky and Ontario, Canada. His fishing and hunting earned him numerous trophy fish and deer.

Vernal was actively involved in issues of veterans’ rights as a member of the American Legion. He was a Life Member of the American Legion Trier-Puddy Post #75, where he served as Commander twice. He has served as Chairman for the Post Badger Boys Program, Camp American Legion, Membership Chairman and for the High School Oratorical Program. Vernal was instrumental in organizing the revival of the Post Sons of the American Legion Squadron. Vernal served also as County Commander. At the District level, Vernal served as Sergeant-at-Arms, and as Chairman of the Sons of the American Legion Program. Vernal was actively involved with Camp American Legion and helped maintain its cabins, especially the Ripon cabin, for over 25 years. At the Department level, Vernal was appointed to the National Security Committee and served three years. He was the chief timer at the state National High School Oratorical Program for over 20 years. He also served as Department Sergeant-at-Arms. He was appointed as Assistant Sergeant-at-Arms for the National Legion Convention in 1988 at Louisville, KY. He also was awarded, in recent years, both the National Gold Brigade Membership and the Silver Brigade Membership awards by the National American Legion for recruiting the largest number of members for a Post in the State of Wisconsin. Vernal was also a proud member of the Navy Club Ship #75 and the NRA.

Vernal and Patricia were travelers throughout their marriage, and had toured 44 of the United States. They were especially interested in presidential libraries and other historical sites.

Vernal is preceded in death by his parents, infant brother, Odean, his father-in-law and mother-in-law, sister-in-law, Marilyn (Charles) Blatz of Florida, brothers-in-law, Anthony Imilkowski, of MO, and Herb McMillan of CA.

He is survived by his wife, Patricia, his daughter, Verna of Fond du Lac and his son, Rodney of North Fond du Lac, sisters-in-law Kathleen McMillan, of San Carlos, CA; Angela (Michael) Crocker, of Willard, MO; Elizabeth (Joe) Crawford, of Lebanon, MO, Sharon Imilkowski, of Crock, MO, and brother-in-law, George Yeske, of Las Vegas, NV, as well as numerous nieces, nephews, other relatives and many friends.

Visitation: The family will receive relatives and friends on Wednesday May 28, 2014, from 5:00 to 6:45 PM at the Zacherl Funeral Home, 875 E. Division Street, Fond du Lac.

Services: Funeral services including Military Honors will be held at 7:00 PM Wednesday at the funeral home. Cremation has taken place.

A memorial scholarship for the Sons of the American Legion is being established in his name.

Zacherl Funeral Home and Crematory is serving the family.