On Tuesday, November 5, 2019, in Franklin, WI, Dr. Vernon R. Potts passed away peacefully with his beloved family by his side. Vernon was blessed with a long, fulfilling life dedicated to service to his country, love for his family and a passion for education. He was born on May 31, 1928, in Muskegon, MI, to Russell and Virginia (Sherbrook) Potts. In 1947, he graduated from Mt. Vernon High School in Mount Vernon, Indiana. He loved his country and was a proud veteran of the United States Marine Corps. Vernon was a lifelong learner. In 1953, he received a Bachelor’s Degree from The University of Evansville; in 1954, he completed his Master’s of Science Degree in Education from Indiana University; and in 1970, he earned his Ph.D. in Education from Michigan State University.
Vernon’s gift was knowledge and much of his life was dedicated to sharing this knowledge with others. He began his career as a history teacher at Battle Creek Central High School in Battle Creek, Michigan, from 1954 to 1961. He went on to become the Principal at W.K. Kellogg Junior High School from 1961 to 1973, the Director of Secondary Education, Battle Creek Public Schools from 1973 to 1975, and the Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education & Research from 1975 until retiring in 1990.
Vernon believed in giving back to his community. He was a lifetime member of the First Congregational Church where he served on the Church Council and volunteered his time for over 30 years as an Usher. He was an avid fly fisherman and a voracious reader. He was able to share his love of books with others by serving on the Willard Library Board for more than 20 years. Vernon’s undeniable commitment to service was the driving force behind many of his proudest accomplishments in life. He served on the boards of Selective Service (Michigan) as well as the Salvation Army. He was the Battle Creek Community Ambassador to Sweden (1958). Vernon was an active member of the Boy Scouts of America, where he was awarded the Silver Beaver and the Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow, serving locally and across Southwest Michigan at the Council level and a staff member for two National Jamborees. He served as a member of Phi Delta Kappa, Pi Gamma Mu and Michigan Association of Secondary Principals. He was a lifetime member of Michigan Parents and Teachers, and the Michigan Association of Retired Secondary Principals and he maintained memberships in The United Empire Loyalists, Sons of American Revolution, Beulah Masonic lodge and the Scottish Rite as well as Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity.
On June 7, 1953, in Boonville, Indiana, Vernon married the love of his life, the former Virginia E. Schuessler, and together they shared 66 wonderful years of marriage. Vernon is survived by his beloved wife, Virginia E (Schuessler) Potts; daughter, Stephanie J. Braun; son, R. Joseph (Carol) Potts II; granddaughters, Melissa (Jason) Kobs, Jessica (Jason) Cornman, Katlyn (Michael) LaScola and Kelsey J. Braun; five great grandchildren; sister, Roberta Hill; sister-in-law, Lois (Vercil) Potts and several nieces & nephews. Vernon was preceded in death by his parents and brother Vercil N. Potts. While we are saddened by his passing, Vernon lived a life of dedication and commitment to his country, community, and family and we are certain a small piece of him will live on in so many.
Funeral services will be held at 11:30 a.m. Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at the Richard A. Henry Funeral Home. Visitation will be held from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Interment with full military honors will be at Fort Custer National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to: Friends of Point Betsie Lighthouse, Inc., P.O. Box 601, Frankfort, MI 49635. www.pointbetsie.org. www.henryfuneralhome.org
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Friends of Point Betsie Lighthouse, Inc.
P.O. Box 601, Frankfort MI 49635