CDR LaVern Pyles, Jr., CEC, USN (retired), recently of Lansdale, and formerly of Fayetteville and Dresher, all in Pennsylvania, passed away on June 20 from complications of heart disease and cancer. He was 94 years old. A native of Washington, D.C., Vern graduated from McKinley Technical High School in 1937 and maintained contact with the school and fellow grads by attending many reunions until recently. Following graduation he worked for the Western Electric Division of AT&T as a cable splicer in Washington, D.C., for two years before continuing his education as a member of the Corps of Cadets at Clemson A&M, now Clemson University, in South Carolina. While at Clemson he earned an athletic letter as a member of the soccer team. Although he graduated in 1943 with a degree in Civil Engineering, he was commissioned early as an Ensign in the U.S. Navy in 1942 due to the demand for naval officers during WWII. Vern was an avid Clemson football fan and maintained a presence on campus during many reunions until recent years. With his encouragement, his grandson Sean Pyles is currently a student there. Service during WWII as an Engineering Duty Officer included ship repair training at the Philadelphia Navy Yard, testing and acceptance of PT boats and landing craft in New Orleans and repair of battle-damaged ships in Pearl Harbor. Upon the war's end he transferred to the Navy Civil Engineer Corps which took him to faraway places such as Morocco, Antigua and the Philippines. He served his country as a naval officer until January 1967 and retired with the rank of Commander. After retirement from the Navy in Philadelphia, he initially worked as an engineering consultant. Later elected, and re-elected twice, to the Pennsylvania State Legislature in 1974, he represented the 151st District for 6 years. He served the state in other positions as well, and retired in 1982. Vern was very active in the development of young men through his many years of service with the Boy Scouts of America, the Upper Dublin Junior Athletic Association and the Abington YMCA. His other public service included volunteer work with Habitat for Humanity and Meals on Wheels. He was also a key member of his church's disaster relief team and traveled to Biloxi, MS, to assist in recovery efforts after hurricane Katrina. Until recent years he was an avid golfer and has maintained a life-long interest in model railroading. He was a skilled home-handyman from his years with the Navy Seabee construction forces and had a strong interest in woodworking. Unfortunately he was pre-deceased by two wives, Evelyn Mae Vollmer of Philadelphia and Audrey Fosdick Rinde-Thorsen of Syosset, N.Y., and was preceded in death by his brother, LeRoy (Roy). Vern will sadly be missed by his three children: Lani MacAniff, Troy and Randall (Randy); as well as three step-children: Peer (Tony), Mark and Beverly Rinde-Thorsen; four grandchildren; and his special and loving friend Matilda (Teda) Paugh. A memorial service will be conducted at 2 p.m. on Monday, July 1, 2013, in the chapel at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, 1000 W. Main St. (Rte. 63 at 363), Lansdale; the family will receive friends and relatives beginning at 1 p.m. Burial with full military honors will follow in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675. To send condolences to the family, please visit the funeral home website below. Shelly Funeral Home, Warrington www.shellyfuneralhomes.com
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Published in Public Opinion on June 26, 2013