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Vernon was born in Detroit, Michigan, to Evelyn and Vernon F. Simmons Sr. He grew up in Grosse Pointe, Michigan, and graduated from Michigan State University in 1957 with a degree in packaging engineering.
His first job was with Sandia Corporation, a prime contractor for the Atomic Energy Commission in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
In 1967, he went to work for the TRW aerospace company in Los Angeles, California, but after two years of breathing smog, he transferred to Boeing Aerospace in Seattle.
Vernon was first married in 1954 and had five children: three girls, Karen, Verlynn and Janice; and two boys, Mark and Kevin. All of Vernon's children survive him, except for Mark, who was killed in an ultralight airplane accident in 1992.
Vernon is survived by his loving wife, Maxine, a former schoolteacher whom he met in Seattle and whom he married in 1975 in her hometown of St. Charles, Minnesota. They lived in Federal Way, Washington, until 1995, when they moved to Sequim.
Besides his daughters, Karen Murphy, Verlynn Johns and Janice Clifton; and son Kevin, he leaves behind his two sisters, Jeanne McWhirter of California and Charlotte Vallad of Michigan.
He is also survived by numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
A memorial service will take place at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 25, at Dungeness Valley Lutheran Church, 925 North Sequim Avenue, Sequim.
Memorial contributions in his honor can be made to Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County, 540 East Eighth Street, Port Angeles, WA 98362.
Published in The Peninsula Daily News on May 19, 2013