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Vernon J. Easterling passed away Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019, at Lane House in Crawfordsville.
He was born March 22, 1934, at Blairs Mills, Kentucky, to Edith (Cox) and Jesse Kermit Easterling. The family later moved to Michigan, and Vern attended Wyandotte High School, where he met Barbara Haynes. They married in 1956, the same year he received his B.A. degree from Eastern Michigan University. He later earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees at Wayne State University, where he was also a research fellow.
In 1962, Vern accepted a position as Assistant Professor of Physics at Wabash College. Promoted to Associate Professor in 1969, he earned the rank of Full Professor in 1983 and remained on the Wabash College faculty until his retirement in 2001. He taught many subjects, including astronomy, which became both an academic specialty and an abiding personal passion. In retirement, he continued to assist with a music course, teaching about acoustics and helping students construct musical instruments.
Vern was an active member of St. John’s Episcopal Church, where he served in numerous roles, including senior warden, junior warden, lay eucharistic minister and pledge secretary. He was closely connected to the Episcopal church camp, Waycross, for which he served on the board and as camp director one summer. He also was co-sponsor of the Wabash ‘shOUT Club and a member of the League of Women Voters of Montgomery County and Kiwanis.
An avid outdoorsman, Vern loved tennis, biking, camping and hiking in state and national parks all around the country, and competing as a member of numerous faculty intramural teams, most especially softball. He passed on his love and appreciation for science, nature and athletics — particularly tennis — to both his children and his grandchildren. Vern was also a handyman, seemingly always busy with home improvement projects of one sort or another, and often enlisting his grandchildren as assistants.
Vern is survived by his wife, Barb; children, Doug and wife Lucinda Brogden; Mark and wife Marilyn; Ken and husband Diego Cardenas; and Susan Albrecht and husband Brian. He is also survived by grandchildren, Jason Easterling and wife Stacy; grandchildren, Kristen Albrecht and Jackson Albrecht; and great-grandchildren Ashlyn, Sean and Richard Easterling.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and two siblings, Joy Rose and Kermit Easterling. He is survived by siblings, Jean Brunell, Virgie Williams, Keith Easterling and Steven Smith.
Vern had been a resident at Lane House for five years, where he and his family loved and appreciated the care and support of the Lane House staff.
Vern’s kindness, patience and ever-present humor will be missed by all who knew him.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 16 at St. John’s Episcopal Church. There will be no visitation, but all are welcome to stay for a reception in Whitlock Hall after the service.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. John’s or Wabash College.