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Vernon Higgins

Vernon J. Higgins, 93

St. Cloud, Minnesota

March 11, 1921 ~ March 17, 2014

Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Friday, March 21, 2014, at St. Augustine's Catholic Church in St. Cloud for Vernon J. Higgins, age 93, of St. Cloud who passed away at St. Benedict's Senior Community Center on Monday, March 17, 2014. Reverend Anthony Oelrich will officiate. Burial will take place in St. Boniface Parish Cemetery in Cold Spring with full military honors.

Family and friends may call from 4:00 p.m. until 8:00 pm. on Thursday, March 20, at the Daniel Funeral Home in St. Cloud and after 9:30 a.m. on Friday at the church. Parish prayers will take place at 6:00 p.m. on Thursday at the funeral home.

Vernon was born on March 11, 1921, in Dana, Iowa, to Edward and Mary (Coughlin) Higgins. The family moved to South Dakota in 1923. Vernon was graduated from high school at Lane in 1939. He worked on the family farm and held a variety of jobs to help his family survive the hard times. Although Vernon was classified by the government as "farm exempt" he chose to volunteer for the service and was called to serve in the Navy in 1944 until 1952.

On July 27, 1949, Vernon married Geraldine Mary Pflepsen in Mitchell, South Dakota. They established their home in San Diego where Vernon was stationed. His first tour of duty was aboard the Landing Ship Medium 250 (LSM) which took him to the Pacific. His second tour was with the Fleet Aircraft Service Squadron 11 (FASRON) which was sent to numerous bases in Japan during the Korean War.

Vernon was a master of many trades. Growing up as a farm boy, he then trained as an electrical engineer, worked on the guidance system for the first missiles that would go to outer space, and ultimately went back to his roots by buying a farm outside St. Cloud in 1967. While farming the 160 acres he also continued to have a full-time day job working for DeZurik's, then Mosford Farm Implements and finally at Traeger-Agri Farm Equipment. Although he officially retired in 1985, he never stopped being active, working and caring for the farm and family.

Over the years, Vern enjoyed many different activities that ranged from gardening, canning, bee-keeping, wine-making and letter writing, to attending family reunions and LSM 250 get-togethers along with traveling to Ireland, Hawaii, Australia and France.

Vernon is survived by one of his brothers, Donald, and his four children: Jane (Roberts) in St. Cloud; Thomas and wife, Marivic, in Plano, Texas; Dennis in St. Cloud; Kathleen and husband, Eric Sanchez, in Thomery, France; six grandchildren, Dominique and husband, Andy Breth, Collegeville; Alexis and husband, Jeremy Krentz, St. Cloud; Yarra in Leeds, England; Tristan in Thomery, France; Sean and Abigail in Texas; four great-grandchildren, Skyla in Collegeville, Gabriella in St. Cloud; Andrew and Camden in Collegeville.

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Geraldine; his parents, and his siblings, Agnes McGraw, Frances Van Overschelde, Vincent, Lawrence and Mary Ottosen.

The Higgins family would like to extend a special thank you to the nurses and staff at the St. Cloud Veterans Affairs Medical Center, St. Benedict's Senior Community Center and St. Croix Hospice for the care given to Vernon.

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Published in the St. Cloud Times on Mar. 19, 2014
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