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Anthony Vernon

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Anthony Vernon Obituary

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VERNON, Anthony ANTHONY G. VERNON (KURT PIOWATY) Anthony G. Vernon died on Friday, June 11, 2010 at the age of 98, after a brief illness. He was born Kurt Piowaty in Brno, Czechoslovakia, on July 9, 1911. A beloved only child, a handsome young man and a gifted student, he was part of the jeunesse d'orée of pre-WWII Brno. He earned a law degree from Charles University, and began practice as a young lawyer in Prague. World tragedies intervened: the day the German tanks entered Prague, he escaped to London on the last train. He worked tirelessly to obtain exit visas for remaining family members, but few escaped. In England he fell in love with and married Helga Weiner, also from Brno. In 1939 they left for Panama with visas for Thailand. A talented swimmer, Kurt supported them in Panama giving swimming lessons at the local YMCA. In 1940 U.S. visas were granted to foreign nationals in the Canal Zone, and they entered New York City through Ellis Island. As so many other immigrants, they Americanized their names at entry to Anthony and Helen Vernon. Through friends, he obtained a job with American Lending Library, beginning his career as a successful businessman, inventor, and manufacturer of library supplies. Anthony and Helen eventually settled in Atlanta, Ga., when he was offered the management of the southeast region. He early began to innovate: he started the practice of renting best sellers to libraries, which continues to this day. He and Helen had 2 children, Sheryl born in 1946, and Andrew in 1948. In 1947 Anthony returned to Europe to find surviving family, and confronted the extent of the Holocaust. Anthony was an entrepreneur: he invented plastic covers for paper book jackets which are still in use, and helped to design and build the machinery to produce them. In 1954 he began his first company, American Library Line. His marriage grew difficult; he and Helen divorced the same year. He remained unswervingly loyal to family, and his commitment to his children never wavered. He supported them through the completion of medical school, and remained a strong and loving presence throughout their lives. In 1960 he married Evelyne Goldberg, his best friend for the next 50 years. Friday evening dinners were wonderful in their home. About 1970 Anthony purchased a farm in Paulding County, where Thanksgiving dinners drew both sides of the family. Evelyne and he traveled widely, often with his surviving cousins. Anthony was the family patriarch -- decent, ethical, and loyal. A thoughtful realist, he read widely in history, and was interested in people of all stations. He is survived by a daughter Sheryl Thacker of Atlanta, a son and daughter-in-law Andrew and Janice Vernon of Snellville, three grandchildren David, Benjamin, and Anna Vernon, a step-daughter Nadalie Goldstein, step-grandchildren Sharon Gregory, Jon Goldstein, Jacquelyn Allen, Jody Zeitler, Lisa Zalk, Jason Karp, and 10 step-great grandchildren. Sign online guest book at www.edressler.com In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Congregation Bet Haverim, PO Box 29548, Atlanta, GA 30359. A memorial service is planned at Congregation Bet Haverim. Arrangements by Dressler's Jewish Funeral Care, Atlanta (770) 451-4999
Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on June 14, 2010
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