Mech, Vernon T.
Vernon T. Mech, age 90, of Greenwood, passed away on April 28, 2013, at St. Joseph's Hospital, in Marshfield. Born in Bonduel, WI, on July 3, 1922, to Theodore and Amanda (Kraut) Mech, Vernon was one of four children. After purchasing the Greenwood Dairy in 1929, the Mech family moved to Greenwood, Wisconsin. That year he met a young girl named Elaine Buker; she became the love of his life. Vernon and Elaine were married on May 21, 1943, in Madison. They were married for over 60 years before Elaine passed away in 2003.
The couple were 1940 graduates of Greenwood High School, where Vernon lettered in multiple sports while Elaine cheered him on as a varsity cheerleader. At graduation, Vernon earned the citizenship key given by the school to the outstanding senior boy. Vernon attended UW-Whitewater and Elaine attended UW-Madison. While at Whitewater, Vernon led two division championship football teams and was the only freshman who played both collegiate football and basketball. He also was a member of the Sigma Tau Gamma fraternity.
After completion of his sophomore year in college, Vernon returned to Greenwood, to help his Dad in the cheese factory. Because he was a business major, with a minor in physical education, he coached football and basketball for Greenwood High School. Three of his players were Bob Mech, Earl Caliebe and Dick Warner. During his tenure as coach, his team won the district tournament basketball championship, the school's first championship since 1926.
In 1944, Vernon enlisted in the Navy and served his country from 1944-46 while Elaine taught school in Humbird, Spencer and Withee. Returning from the service in 1946, Vernon sold vacuum cleaners and worked for the Blue Moon cheese factory as a field man, starting its first quality control program. He also enjoyed playing semi-pro baseball with Kidd's Kids during that time.
Vernon and Elaine purchased the North Star Cheese Factory outside of Loyal in 1948, working as a blue-ribbon-winning cheese maker until 1960, when they sold the operation to Clem Esselman. With their family savings, Vernon and Elaine purchased majority shares of the Farmers and Merchants Bank in Greenwood. Vernon started his career as a banker on March 17, 1960 and retired after 32 years on March 20, 1992. During that time the bank grew in assets from $3.3M to $29M. Vernon served as a Wisconsin Banking Group One Officer and President during the Group One 75th anniversary.
Those who knew Vernon, knew about his love of the Packers and the outdoors. He took his dream hunting trip to the Yukon Territory in 1966. Accompanied by his dear friends, Doc Olson, Harry Liebzeit and Dick Van Gordon, he brought home a moose, caribou and dall ram along with many pictures, stories and memories. He also hunted elk in Wyoming and Montana and pheasants in South Dakota. He loved his land west of Greenwood, where he built his pond in 1971. Vernon spent many hours taking care of his woods, enjoying Wisconsin's natural beauty and fishing and hunting with friends and family.
Vernon was loved and respected by many and known for his gentle, kind spirit. He was a man who deeply loved his family. He encouraged and supported his children in their academic and extra-curricular activities, never missing an event during their grade school and high school years. In his later years, nothing pleased him more than dinner with his family at Fannies Supper Club.
He was preceded in death by his wife, Elaine; his parents, Amanda and Ted Mech; his brother and sister-in-law, Alma and Melvin Mech; his sister, Jean Mech; and Elaine's parents, Mae and Art Buker.
He will be dearly missed by his children, Vicki Mech Hester (Dick) and Mike Mech (Tina); three grandchildren, Stacey, Bryan (Brittney) and Jenny (Jose) and one great-granddaughter, Addison Grace. He is also survived by his brother, Bob Mech (Ethel) and their children, Cathy, Karen, Russ and Rob. Other nieces and nephews on the Mech side include Helen Seipel and Bill Mech. Nieces and nephews on the Buker side include Bonnie, Connie, Lee, Pat, Bob, Tom and Judy.
Vicki and Mike want to recognize and thank Millie and Den Humke, Sue and Jim Rahm, Ed Yurkovich, Junior Hare, Diane Del Fatti and Joe Mayenschein for helping their Dad and being such wonderful friends.
A celebration of life will be held at a later date. Memorial contributions can be made to Riley Children's Foundation, 30 South Meridian, Ste. 200, Indianapolis, IN 46204 or The
at 7272 Greenville Avenue, Dallas, TX 75231.
Online condolences may be expressed at www.cuddiefh.com
Cuddie Funeral Home, of Greenwood, is assisting the family with arrangements.