James O. Vernon, 81, of Morton, passed away on Monday, February 8, 2021, at OSF St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria. He was born on October 25, 1939, in Peoria to Herbert and Wilma (Potts) Vernon. He married Hanna Droell on April 26, 1966, in Germany.
Surviving are his wife, Hanna Vernon, of Morton; son, Paul (Julie) Vernon of Cincinnati, OH; four grandchildren, Emma, Elizabeth, Ryan and Jack; sister, Lydia (Russell) Vernon-Jones of Amhurst, MA; brother, Rex (Bonny) Vernon of Memphis, TN; and many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by one infant son; both parents; and one sister, Julia.
James was a four year US Army Veteran. He served in Germany, and afterward he worked for US Government in Berlin, Germany. He graduated from the University of Maryland in 1967 and then worked for Caterpillar Tractor, Inc., retiring in 2001 after 41 years.
James enjoyed playing golf and chess and volunteered at the Morton grade schools. In 2018, he was an honored recipient of the Carnegie Medal. James was a member of Morton Community United Church of Christ.
Cremation rites will be accorded. A private family service will be held. Knapp-Johnson Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Morton is handling arrangements.
Memorials may be made to the Ilse Droell Memorial Scholarship, c/o Morton Community Foundation via https://mortoncommunityfoundation.org/ilse-droll-memorial-scholarship. To leave an online condolence for the family, visit www.knappjohnson.com.