July 24, 1932 - Feb. 18, 2010
Vern E. Studer, 77, of 3486 Powerline Road, Walla Walla, passed away Feb. 18, 2010, at the Park Manor Rehabilitation Center in Walla Walla. Graveside services will be Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2010, at 2 p.m. at the Milton-Freewater Cemetery in Milton-Freewater, with Pastor Matthew Studer, Pastor Duane Geyer and Pastor Steve Lyons officiating. Memorial contributions may be made to the First Christian Church through the Munselle-Rhodes Funeral Home, 902 S. Main, Milton-Freewater. There will be a Celebration of Life/Wake at the Studer residence on Saturday, Feb. 27, 2010, with open house from 1-4:00 p.m. Friends and acquaintances are invited to drop by.
Mr. Studer was born July 24, 1932, in Arkansas City, Kan., the son of Herman C. and Helen A. Simpson Studer. His family ran a dairy farm in the San Joaquin Valley near Crow's Landing and Patterson Calif., until moving to a dairy farm on U.S. 95 southeast of Coeur d'Alene, when he was about 12 years old. He was named to an Idaho High School All-Star football team prior to graduating from Coeur d'Alene High School in 1951. After high school, he worked in various construction projects, including helping build Hungry Horse Dam near Kalispell, Mont. While there he met Jeannette Price and they were married in June 1952. Mr. Studer began active duty in the U.S. Navy in November 1952 at San Diego. His military service focused on activities of the Underwater Demolition Team, also known as frogmen. He served two tours of duty (38 months) in the Far East during the Korean War. Following his discharge from the Navy, he matriculated at the University of Idaho in Moscow under the GI Bill. While attending college, Mr. Studer worked in construction, owned a sand and gravel business, ran a paving crew that put down the first pavement on the White Bird Hill portion of U.S. 95 and the Idaho portion of the Lolo Pass route of U.S. Highway 12. The family lived in Genesee, Idaho. In June 1963, he graduated from the University of Idaho with a bachelor's degree in agriculture/animal science. He put that degree to work for Armour and Company meat packing in Spokane in various capacities, including cattle buyer. During the next 10 years he worked in the cattle industry, managing feedlots, buying and selling cattle for several operations and lastly for Puregro, the cattle feed division of Union Carbide Company. For Puregro, he was the Northwest regional sales manager and nutrition consultant, covering Washington, Oregon, Northern California and Idaho.
In 1974, Mr. Studer decided to become a Farmers Insurance agent in Kennewick, in order to get off the road and be more available for his family, which by now included six teenagers. The Vern Studer Agency moved to Walla Walla in 1982. He combined efforts with Bill Buchheim and purchased the building at 1010 S. 2nd in 1989 and continued the insurance business, working with his wife, Jeannette, until they divorced in 1994. He continued as an agent until June 2007, when he had a disabling stroke. Vern and Jeannette and the entire Studer family were instrumental in the planning of Calvary Church in Walla Walla with his son Matt as pastor. He had many friends and clients in the Latino community in Walla Walla. He worked at learning to speak Spanish for the past 20 years, causing some of his own grandchildren to assume that was his cultural heritage. Mr. Studer renewed his friendship with Arlene Sharp, whom he had known as another ag major's wife at the University of Idaho in the 1960s. They were married in Milton-Freewater in 1996 and in Walla Walla in 2000. Arlene is continuing to operate the Vern Studer Insurance Agency.
He is survived by his wife, Arlene, at the home; two sons, Matthew Studer of Hermiston, and Jon Studer of Newman, Calif.; four daughters, Susan Smith, Juli Schmidt and Lisa Tabor, all of Walla Walla, and Laurie Fox, of Kennewick; two step-sons, Michael and Douglas Sharp, both of Boise; brother, H.C. Studer, of Bonners Ferry, Idaho.; 29 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren and nieces and nephews.