Vernis R. Kendall

Vernis R. Kendall, 92, a resident of Willow Branch, passed away Thursday, Oct. 18, 2012, at his residence.

Through the years, we’ve watched the business life in Willow Branch shrink almost into oblivion, but one constant remained, Kendall’s Garage and it’s owner, Vernis Kendall. Vernis’s contribution to our community was an ongoing gift.

He was born on May 20,1920, son of the late John L. and Stella M. (Sparks) Kendall on a family farm on Warrington Pike, north of Wilkinson. He helped his father with the farm work and developed a life-long love of gardening during those years.

In 1939, he completed his education at Wilkinson High School. For a time, he worked for a Chevrolet dealer in Anderson. Having developed a keen sense of repairing machinery through the years, he purchased the Clive Snider Garage in Willow Branch in 1944. Kendall’s Garage became a thriving addition to this small village. The garage offered all kinds of services and supplies, especially gasoline, kerosene, batteries, tires, fan belts, nuts, bolts, and many other items, including, soft drinks and candy. The garage has also been a gathering place for those who stopped in for a rest period and good conversation. Since new regulations for gas storage became impossible for the smaller pump owners, Vernis discontinued the sale of gasoline, and Hanna Oil Company lost a valued customer, which it had served for 35 years. Those who have worked with Vernis during the years have included Bill McClarnon, Levi Walker, Marion Potts and the ever faithful, Shirley Lewman.

For years, his wife, Rosemary, was ill and on dialysis and he gave her his loving and caring attention. His devoted daughter, Peggy, brightened his life with the birth of his grandchild, Brandy Michelle, his pride and joy. Brandy Michelle graduated from the University of Michigan and become a Doctor of Dentistry.

No biography about Vernis would be complete without mentioning his garden. Every year he has raised a bountiful garden, which he has shared with neighbors and friends. His fruit and vegetables compete with stores not only in quality but also in quantity, and were delivered by the gardener himself. What more can one say? Vernis devoted his life to hard work and sharing with others. He was kind, helpful and deeply appreciated by his community.

Survivors include a daughter, Peggy Ann (Phillip) Adams of Anderson; a brother, Francis B. Kendall of Marion; granddaughter, Brandy Michelle Wittenborn of Indianapolis; two nephews; and two nieces.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Rosemary Kendall in 1979.

Friends will be received from 4 to 8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 22, 2012, at Condo & Son Funeral Home in Wilkinson. Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012, at the funeral home with Adam Payne officiating. Burial will follow at McCray Cemetery in Wilkinson.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Willow Branch United Methodist Church; 6244 North Thomas Street Willow Branch, IN.  46186.

Vernis’s obit was written by Virginia Hanna

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