- Vernon Eugene Sylvester
- Date of Death:
- Jun 18, 2011
- Location of Service:
- Whitesitt Funeral Home - Stevensville
STEVENSVILLE – Vernon Eugene Sylvester of Stevensville embarked on a new adventure in the early morning of June 18, 2011. He was lucky enought to pass quickly and die at home.
Vern was born May 29, 1924, near Lewistown to Arthur and Clara (Woolhiser) Sylvester. He attended a one-room schoolhouse up Cottonwood Creek where the family homsteaded. He graduated from Fergus County High School. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy after the bombing of Pearl Harbor and honorably served his country for five years. While in the U.S. Navy, he tested radar in airplanes used to detect German subs on the east coast.
After his discharge from the service, he attended Montana State University in Missoula on the GI Bill. He completed a bachelor’s degree in forestry in 1950. He worked as a smokejumper while attending MSU in Missoula.
He married Katherine Ritenour who he had met at Lookout Pass Ski Area. They were wed in Pendroy on Aug. 20, 1950. They lived on Porcupine Creek in Gallatin Canyon while he was working for Montana Fish & Game. He began his career with the U.S. Forest Service in June of 1951. He served as assistant ranger in Sheridan, as ranger in Wise River, and as staff officer for range and wildlife in Grangeville, Idaho, Elko, Nev., and Reno, Nev. He retired from the Forest Service in 1980 and moved to Stevensville.
He will be remembered for his generosity to those in need, tenacity for the care of the environment and his tender heart for those he loved. He was active in St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church. He was president of Friends of the Mansfield LIbrary. He was also active in Stenvensville Civic Club, Pantry Partners, Forest Service Retirees, National Smokejumpers Association, Ravalli County Democratic Support Group (Mule Team) and numerous conservation organizations.
Vern and Kay traveled to Russia, Africa, South America, China, Mongolia, Mexico, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. He enjoyed steelhead fishing and skiing with his family.
He was preceded in death by his parents; brother Ivan; sisters, Lela Welch and Ruth LaRosa.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Kay; sons Jim (Suzanne Sterrett) and Bill (Sandra Garcia); daughters Ginger (Joel) Petty and Sue (Rick) Neff.
A memorial service will be held at Whitesitt Funeral Home, 314 Church St., Stevensville, on Wednesday, June 22, at 3:30 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Vern’s honor to the National Museum of Forest Service History, P.O. Box 2772 Missoula, MT 59806-2772 or the North Valley Library in Stevensville.
- Location of Services:
- Whitesitt Funeral Home
- 314 Church Street