365体育投注

YOLO COUNTY NEWS

Obituaries

Verne Edward Mendel

April 28, 1923 — April 27, 2020

Verne Edward Mendel slipped this earth after a long and interesting life, much of it in his beloved town of Davis.

He was the firstborn of William (Claude) and Alvina Mendel (Stief), homesteaders in the near treeless, windswept, high plateau of north-central Montana, a land of sagebrush and short prairie grasses, the recent home of bison and plains Indians.

Verne’s parents found raising a family on 160 acres with no water and poor soils was hard business, so they moved to and helped found the tiny village of Winifred (pop 150), where he and four of his five siblings grew up. The family raised chickens and ran a small dairy to augment Dad’s meager salary as a grain elevator operator. With no running water or power, there were chores aplenty, in addition to going to school.

At 13, Verne began his working life, a life of which he was deeply proud. He was skilled at working teams of horses, but also learned early to drive tracked vehicles, so he always had work in his farming community.

During those early years, Verne experienced extraordinary calamities, both natural and man-made. In addition to the typical vagaries of northern Montana weather, he witnessed repeated plagues of locusts that consumed anything green, including crops and family gardens. He saw dust storms that blotted the sun and endured the further privations caused by the Great Depression.

Verne didn’t have much, but he had a community and a loving and resourceful family, so he had what he needed. He was happy.

365体育投注Verne graduated high school (with nine others) and started college near the onset of WWII. With his dad, he briefly helped build ships in Vancouver, then enlisted at 20. With his love of and experience with horses, he wanted to join the cavalry, but it had been recently disbanded, so he joined the infantry. He served in Alaska, drove tanks, and contracted an infection that cost him permanent loss of hearing in one ear.

While in the Army, he married Beatrice (Helen) Dolan. After the war he worked various jobs in Wyoming where he built his own log house. There they had two kids and lost a third. He aspired to be a veterinarian, so he enrolled at the University of Idaho. After completing two degrees, and having another kid, Verne was accepted into veterinary school, but chose instead to pursue a Ph.D. at UC Davis.

These were lean times, but he got his degree and immediately took a faculty job back on the prairie at the University of Alberta, Edmonton. Later, he rejoined the UC system and worked at a field research station just miles from the Mexican border before returning to Davis. There he spent the next 25 years as an educator, researcher and administrator.

While in Davis, Verne remarried, first to Velda Mortimer (Haynes), mother of two, but soon lost her to cancer. Later, he married Katinka (Tink) Nickerson (Gallin), mother of three, and a well-known member of the UCD community. After a rewarding time together, he lost her in 2009.

365体育投注For the past two decades, Verne lived happily at the University Retirement Community in Davis where he found an extended family providing the essentials in abundance — love, support and community.

365体育投注Verne loved his community. He volunteered at the California Agricultural Museum. He spent years documenting the life stories and careers of UCD faculty. He was an early advocate and developer of Yolo Hospice and a volunteer and ardent supporter of the Mondavi Center.

365体育投注Despite some tough times and devastating losses, Verne enjoyed his life. He read voraciously and widely. He loved to design and build most anything — houses, yards, research apparatus and irrigation systems. He loved learning, gardening, music, travel and dancing. Most of all, he liked to talk to his many friends and family about almost anything: The man could talk!

Verne enjoyed a life well-lived, and he touched many. He will be sorely missed.

He is survived by four siblings, three children, five step-children, and slew of grand- and step-grandchildren.

365体育投注A service at University Retirement Community awaits lifting of COVID-19 restrictions. In lieu of flowers, please donate to Yolo Hospice.

CalMatters


Special Publications

Quick Links

Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service (updated 4/30/2015) and Privacy Policy (updated 4/7/2015).
Copyright (c) 2020 , a family-owned local media company that proudly publishes the , , Davis Enterprise, , , , , and other community-driven publications.