PORTSMOUTH — Colonel Joseph M. (Mickey) Verna, CAP, 92, died August 10, 2012. He was the son of James Verna and Mary Taccetta, born October 10, 1919.
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He graduated from Portsmouth High School, class of 1937.
During the second World War he was sent to Camp Crowder, Missouri and learned to be a high speed radio operator. He was shipped overseas in August of 1945 to Okinawa. The war ended and he spent several months there doing occupation duty until May of 1946 and was sent back to the States and discharged.
In October of 1950 he was called back to duty and sent to Korea. There he joined Headquarters Company, first Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 2nd Division and was made radio operator for the Battalion Commander. He received two Bronze stars, one during a battle in May, 1951 and the second in a battle in August, 1951. He returned home in October, 1951 and was discharged from the service.
He then worked for Taccetta Chevrolet for over 30 years. He operated his own service station, Joe's Sunoco Station, on Islington Street in Portsmouth, from 1959 to 1969. He returned to Taccetta Chevrolet and retired from there in 1987.
He was a lifelong member of the Civil Air Patrol having joined in December, 1941. He held a private airplane license and spent many hours in the air searching for downed aircraft in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.
In 1986 he joined the Coast Guard Auxiliary and was still a member. He held the position of Finance Officer in both the Civil Air Patrol and Coast Guard Auxiliary.
He was a lifelong member of St. Catherine's Church and served on both the Finance Committee and the Parish Council.
Mickey loved photography, flying, dancing, a good joke and his red caddie.
Joe was predeceased by his previous wife Gertrude (Havener) and grandson Frederick Locke.
He is survived by his wife of 14 years, Mary (Casa-O'Keefe); his sisters, Christine Harris and Gloria Collins; as well as his daughter Sheila VanAlstine and Arthur Vancour. He is also survived by his stepchildren Nora and Howard Locke, Michael and Ann O'Keefe, Merrianne O'Keefe and Robert Guy, Sherry and George Chagaris; his grandchildren Heidi and Paul Wood, Ramon Bonenfant, Beth Riendeau, Joseph Bonenfant, Suzanne and GK Hague, Lester and Kelly Telles, Kristin McKinlay, Howard Locke, Lisa Locke, Beth O'Keefe, Jennie O'Keefe, Michael and Lisa O'Keefe, Chelsea Thomas, Patrick Thomas, John Chagaris and Mandy Chagaris; 10 great grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
Visiting hours will be held on Sunday, August 12, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Farrell Funeral Home, 684 State Street, Portsmouth, N.H. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated on Monday, August 13, at 10 a.m. at Saint Catherine Church, 875 Woodbury Avenue, Portsmouth N.H. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery. Family flowers only please, memorials may be made to Corpus Christi Parish, 2075 Lafayette Road, Portsmouth, N.H. 03801.
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Farrell Funeral Home, Inc.
684 State Street
Portsmouth, NH 03801
Published in Fosters from Aug. 11 to Aug. 13, 2012