Vernon Smith, 86, father of Grand Meadow woman

Vernon Fredrick Smith, 86, of Rochester, died peacefully on Thursday, May 9, 2019, at Seasons Hospice House in Rochester.

He was born on Feb. 10, 1933, in Rochester to Valentine and Ella (Ranfranz) Smith.

He graduated 10th grade in 1949.

He enlisted in the United States Army at the age of 17. He served for three years, obtaining the rank of Sergeant in the Army 11th Airborne Division “The Angels” Medical Battalion. Although he served during the Korean War, he was never deployed overseas. They kept him stateside to train other soldiers.

After returning home from the service, he began working for Gopher Airport, where he drove truck and worked maintenance and for the line department. He worked at the airport for 44 years until his retirement.

He had a pilot’s license and enjoyed taking his kids up in small airplanes over Rochester. He also owned a 1947 Indian motorcycle, which his children enjoyed riding with him.

In 1950, he met Terry Christensen and they were married in 1955 at the Little Brown Church in Iowa.

In the mid-1970s, they moved out of Rochester to Lake Zumbro, where they built their dream home and retired. The lake property was his pride and joy, where he shared many fun times and good memories with his family. He loved working in the yard and was always fixing things. He also enjoyed boating, water skiing, riding the four-wheeler and his motorcycle. He was a wonderful and caring husband and father.

He is survived by his two children, Pamela Kiehne of Grand Meadow and Wayne Smith of Rochester; seven grandchildren, Shannon (Justin) Moberg of Eagan, Christopher Kiehne (Brianne) of Big Lake, Stephanie (Corey) Knutson of Rochester, Jonathan (Darla) Kiehne of Eden Prairie, Jeff (Liz) Golenzer of Rochester, Vanessa Smith of LaVerne, Ala., and Brysen Smith of LaVerne, Ala.; five great-grandchildren, Violet, William, Carley, Landon and Willem and sister, Marietta Brown of Rockford, Ill.

He was preceded in death by his granddaughter, Sherri Kiehne; six sisters and three brothers.

A memorial service for him was held on Wednesday, May 15, in the River Park Chapel at Macken Funeral Home in Rochester with the Rev. Lester Horntvedt officiating.

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