Vernon A. ‘Vern’ Chamberlin

Vernon Chamberlin, 95, Lawrence, passed away on January 25, 2020, at his home. He was born July 18, 1924, in Topeka, Kansas, the son of Fred L. Chamberlin and Verna (Woodside) Chamberlin.

He attended public schools in Topeka, and received an A.B. Degree from Washburn University and a M.A. Degree from K.U. He taught high school in Fredonia, Kansas, and at Pembroke Country Day School in Kansas City, Missouri, and completed his Ph.D. at K.U. in 1957.

Vernon taught Spanish at U.C.L.A. two years and at Oklahoma State University four years before returning to teach at K.U. in 1963. He was promoted to Professor of Spanish in 1968 and taught at K.U. until his retirement in 1996., specializing in nineteenth Century Spanish literature. He published books as well as numerous articles, notes, and book reviews in scholarly journals. He also served on editorial boards, belonged to several professional organizations, and frequently presented papers at national and international conferences.

He married Marilyn Groom on June 4, 1955, in Lawrence, Kansas. She survives of the home. Other survivors include a daughter, Marlene Chamberlin, Ft, Collins, Colorado; a son, Mark Chamberlin, Fruita, Colorado; and an honorary granddaughter, Julia Silverstein, Farmington, CT. Vernon was preceded in death by his parents and a brother, Bill Chamberlin.

At his request, there will be no funeral service. Memorial contributions may be made in his name to Douglas County Visiting Nurses & Hospice, in care of Rumsey-Yost Funeral Home, 601 Indiana St., Lawrence, KS, 66044. Online condolences may be sent at

Messages & Condolences

From R. Steve Dick....

Such a kind and inquisitive man.
So many lunches with the union gang. Always something to share.
Prayers to all the family and friends.

From Farida Safadi-Chamberlain...

Dear Marylin:
I was saddened to hear about Vernon’s passing from Marlene, I had received your annual Christmas update and was pleased to know of your change of residence to an easier one. Vernon was an amazing man and scholar and I always felt that he was an extension of the late Ted who shared with him the same birthday and many other long scholarly conversations. I remember our annual spring meetings in Fort Collins when he always found something in my interest area to converse with me and he bridged the gap with my younger boys. His active life and scholarly contributions until the age of 1995 is an inspiration to everyone who knew him. Marylin, Marlene and Mark, I know how much you will miss him, but I also know how much the scholarly world will miss him. He lived a fulfilling life amongst his beloved family, his friends, and his academic circle, and thus passed peacefully and calmly. Marylin, I pray that your long memories of Vernon will give you comfort and peace forward. You are in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for crossing the roads with my family, I feel privileged.
Most Sincerely,
Farida Chamberlain

From Doug & Cheryl Hargin...

Aunt Marilyn we were saddened to hear of uncle Vern’s passing. You could always count on an interesting conversation on a variety of topics with him. We pray for God’s comfort for you, Marlene and Mark.

From Maryann and Darrel Snyder...

Marilyn and Marlene,

We send our sincere condolences on Vern’s passing. We were privileged to have met, shared meals, and gotten to know Vern (and you Marilyn) on a couple of your visits to Fort Collins. Our prayers are with you and your family. May he smile down upon and continue to watch over you.

Sympathetically, Maryann and Darrel

From Lisa Eitner...

I became acquainted with Vern decades ago in my work with the KU Bookstore / Kansas Union, assisting him with textbook orders. We remained friends through his retirement, when he frequently visited with colleagues on campus. We last spoke at the Union just before my retirement in Aug. 2019, when he encouraged me stay active and involved! My deepest condolences to Marilyn and family at this sad time.

From Patti and Bud Egbert...

Aunt Marilyn, Mark and Marlene, we want you to know that you have been in our thoughts and prayers everyday since we learned about Uncle Vern’s passing. Although shocked, we were so thankful that he was peaceful as he passed into eternity. I am grateful to have gotten to spend more time with him in his later years and even help celebrate his 94th birthday! I always appreciated how he would take the time to think of ways to connect with people based on their interests as well as share the things that he loved. He will, no doubt, be missed. Heartfelt condolences.

From Chris Johnson...

Mark, I was saddened to hear about your dad’s death. I seem to remember learning when you and I worked together long ago in Lawrence that your dad was a professor. I only made the connection between him and you years later when I was working on my dissertation about the Volga German dialects of Kansas. Professor Chamberlin, the Spanish professor, contacted me and told me of his time in Topeka when he would deliver newspapers to “Little Russia” (North Topeka). He knew names and places and knew some German phrases from those years (he would always address me as “Landsmann” ). He proved to be a big help and was present at my dissertation defense as my ex-officio faculty representative. I was also impressed to learn that as a student, he helped with fieldwork for J.Neale Carman’s Foreign Language Units of Kansas, a very important research resource for knowing where to look for possible speakers of non-English languages across the state. I most recently shared some cake and spoke with him for about an hour last December at a retirement event. I mentioned that I hadn’t seen him lately riding his bike across campus as he had done for many years. He smiled and told me that he had given up riding his bicycle when he turned 90. Even at that event, was still giving me suggestions on people who might have something to add about the Germans in Kansas. I am sorry he is gone and will remember him fondly. Er ruhe in Frieden.

From Jack Sinnigen...

My heartfelt condolences to family and friends.
Vernon will be greatly missed by all his galdosista colleagues. Vernon and I attended many conferences together and we shared our passion for Galdós through publications. Vernon had a knack for a particular kind of provocative analysis in his prolific scholarly production.
Que descanse en paz.

From Fernanda Zullo-Ruiz...

I remember fondly Professor Chamberlin´s smile, his gentle nature, and his generosity. And it was such a joy to see him with a mischievous grin when he was on his bike at KU campus! QEPD

From Deborah Hargin...

I feel very fortunate to have had Uncle Vern’s influence and love in my life. This kind, scholarly man fostered an interest in language in me from about the age of eight when he sent me a card telling me how to say the numbers one through 10 in Spanish. Over the years, he gave me several books on language and as late as 2019 was still sharing his knowledge and enthusiasm with me. I feel very fortunate to have had Uncle Vern’s influence, love and kindness in my life.

Aunt Marilyn, Mark and Marlene, Julia – I love you very much and my heart is with you.

From Leslie and Jennie Dienes...

Dear Marlene, You are the only member of the family I know besides Vernon. I remember you well from my class. I want to express my deepest sympathy to you, your mother and the family.

From Salvador Oropesa...

Extraordinary colleague, a good friend of Kansas State, thoughtful researcher, and a good person. Descanse en paz.

Messages are closed.