Vernon F. Lytle was born in his grandparents’ house near Coldwater, Kan., on Christmas Eve 1915.
It was common in those days for young mothers to return to their mother’s homes for childbirth, and Vernon was a little Christmas gift to Marie (Lohrding) Lytle and Roy Lytle. He was their only son.
He grew up mostly in rural communities around Coldwater, including Buttermilk and Wilmore, and like his peers, was shaped by the economic hardships of the early 1930s.
He finished high school in Coldwater in 1933, helped by an aunt and uncle on his mother’s side.
In his late teens he met a pretty ranch girl named Juanita B. Pope. They were united in marriage on April 11, 1936, at the Comanche County Courthouse, with Marie Lytle as their witness. Vernon, who was 20, needed parental permission. Juanita, 19, did not. Their marriage lasted more than 67 years, until Juanita’s death on May 14, 2003.
They struggled to get a toehold in the world until Vernon’s aunt and uncle hired them to farm and ranch near Hardtner in Barber County. The job was perfect for a young couple who loved country life: Planting and harvesting crops, tending chickens, pigs and cattle. And they revered Vernon’s aunt and uncle – Pearl and Rink McCullough – for being their mentors.
Vernon and Juanita, who believed in thrift, self-reliance, modesty and reverence.
They bought and moved to a farm near Atlanta, Kan., in 1948. They sold it and moved to Winfield, Kan., in 1954. They spent much of their mid-life working for the State of Kansas at the Winfield State School, which then housed benign people with mental disabilities. In retirement, they lived on a few acres outside of Winfield, recreating their rural ideal.
Wherever they lived, family and church were their social circles. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary by renewing their vows in church.
When Juanita became sick in 1996, they moved to Lawrence to be closer to their children for their final years. Vernon made his home with his daughter, Kay Jenista.
Vernon loved his family, homemade ice cream, heavenly hash, fried chicken, drives in the country and telling his stories.
Dad came from Puritan stock and he never betrayed those values, but he managed to soften them enough bring a sense of humor to this experience we call life. We are all richer for having been his children, his friend, his admirer. May he enjoy eternity with Juanita.
Vernon is survived by his sister, Marie (Bebe) Butler, Winfield, Ks., His four children, Vernon Wayne Lytle and wife Joanne, Smith Center; Kay Jenista, Lawrence; Donita Pearl Ingenthron and husband Gary, Meriden; and Arnold Rink Lytle and wife Jennifer, Fircrest, Wa. Vernon also leaves behind 8 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and 12 great-great grandchildren.
Funeral services will be 10:00 a.m., Saturday, September 21, 2013 at Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home.
Interment will be at a later date at Mt. Calvary/Rose Hill Cemetery near Perry, Kansas.
A visitation with the family will be from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Friday, September 20, at the funeral home.
The family suggests memorial contributions to The American Heart Association or the charity of the donor’s choice, sent in care of the funeral home.