1925 - 2013|
Our father, relative, and friend, Vern Lillywhite Welling, passed away from natural causes at home on Friday January 11, 2013.
He was born on the family farm in Riverside, Utah on July 24, 1925 to Tracy Richards Welling and Clarissa Lillywhite Welling. He always enjoyed saying "Are you watching my parade celebrating my birthday?" on that holiday.
The Wellings moved to Salt Lake City when Vern was 7. He graduated from East High where he enjoyed debate and ROTC.
He continued his ROTC service while at the University of Utah. At the same time, Dad also worked at the Deseret News as a sport reporter with his own column called "Bits of Banter". While at the U of U he also joined the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity.
At the age of 18 Vern enlisted in the US Army Air Corp, which later became the US Air Force.
He served in WWII training in B-l7 and B-29 bomber aircraft as a navigator/bombardier. He flew on bombing missions during the Korean War. After Korea he became a personnel manager in the Air Force, serving in that capacity for the rest of his career while stationed in California, Japan, Colorado, the Pentagon, Alaska, and finally his home state of Utah.
Dad retired from the Air Force as a Lt. Colonel after 5 years reserve and 22 years active duty. He was very proud of his military service, even to the point of shouting "Go Big Blue" during an Air Force vs University of Utah football game while surrounded by Ute fans.
After retiring from the military, he worked for a time in real estate and banking. But retirement was considerably spent running and playing golf. Dad was generous to his family, friends and associates. We all suffered from his inappropriate sense of humor. No one was off limits.
He first married Betty Jean Christensen in March 1945, later divorced. They had a son, Scott.
Vern subsequently married Betty Inez Van Ness in January 1951. She passed away in 1981. They had 2 children, daughter Pat and son Bob.
Married Annette Swenson, later divorced, but their relationship endured.
Dad is survived by his children Scott, Patricia and Robert (Eileen), his grandchildren Ryan (Sarah) Welling, Lisa (Brandon) Neiderhauser, and Michael Welling, and great grand daughter Sophie Eileen Welling. He also leaves behind his long time and devoted companion Annette Swenson along with her family.
He was preceded in death by his parents and siblings, sister Yvonne, and brothers Ray Neal and Gordon.
Dad's wish was to be cremated. Family and friends are invited to a memorial reception to be held Saturday January 26th from 11:00 am to noon at Larkin Sunset Lawn located at 2350 East 1300 South, Salt Lake City, Utah. The reception will be concluded by the presentation of military honors courtesy of Hill Air Force Base.
Vern's family requests that in lieu of flowers, a donation may be made either to the USO or to
Published in Deseret News from Jan. 20 to Jan. 24, 2013