Vernon Eugene Renner, age 98, was born November 5, 1916 in Audrain County, Missouri to Charles John Renner and Mary Ann (Kohl) Renner and peacefully passed from this life on August 27, 2015.
Vernon attended the one room New Michigan School and from those humble beginnings obtained his BS from Baylor University, with a Masters and PhD from the University of Missouri.
While at Baylor University he met and married the love of his life, Fay Fisher. They were married in Brownsville, Texas on November 29, 1952. His personal goals and educational pursuits were interrupted by service to his country with the 71st Division in World War II.
He was a decorated veteran and participated in the liberation of the Genskirchen Lager concentration camp on May 4, 1945. The 71st then continued fighting through to the Enns River contacting Russian forces east of Linz, Austria on May 8, 1945, the day before hostilities ceased, having advanced further east than any other U.S. Army unit.
Vernon remained in Europe as part of the occupation force and was a member of the 71st Division football team, which won the European championship in 1946. He continued his military career after the war and retired from the reserves as Commanding Officer of the Springfield unit and was active in annual reunions for the 71st Division. A life-long love of sport was fostered in Vernon at an early age with his father providing a field cut out of a pasture where the local men and boys would play baseball on Sunday afternoons. He had a particular devotion to MSU Bears baseball having attended games from the inception of the program in the early 1960’s until as recently as this spring. It was a rare occasion when “Doc”, as he was affectionately known, was not in the stands to cheer on his team. Retiring from a distinguished career as a Professor of Agriculture at Missouri State in 1981, Vernon continued to support the university and students by establishing several endowed scholarships for the benefit of agriculture and conservation students.
He took great joy in periodic visits from his former students. He was a Deacon and long-time member of University Heights Baptist Church and was active in the Baptist Student Union at MSU.
Vernon was preceded in death by siblings John Henry Renner, Raymond Renner, Maxine Davis, and Lowell Renner. He is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 62 years, Fay Renner, children Stephen Renner, Joseph Brian Renner (Laura), Flo Graham (Kevin) and Mandy Charles, numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
In keeping with Vernon’s wishes, his remains will be cremated with a memorial service scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday, September 4, 2015 at University Heights Baptist Church.
Visitation will be held immediately prior to the service at 2 p.m. Arrangements are under the direction of Gorman-Scharpf Funeral Home.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made to the Missouri State University Foundation- Baseball Bears or the College of Agriculture.