Vernon Edgar Umphenour, 92, of Moberly, passed away at the Harry S. Truman Veterans Hospital in Columbia, MO on January 7, 2018. He was born January 7, 1926 in Bellaire, KS to Wilbur and Lillie Pearl Shippen Umphenour.
Vernon was attending high school at El Monte, California when he was drafted into the Amphibious Forces of the Navy on April 29, 1944. He received boot camp at Farragut, Idaho and then was sent to an Amphibious Base at Solomons, Maryland where he served on an LCS (L)(3)6. He was also sent to Camp Bradford, an Amphibious Base at Little Creek, Virginia and then went on an LST 1077.
He was married on May 13, 1945 to Betty Hildreth who was from Cairo, MO, but working in Washington, DC at the Maritime Commission. He then left on an LST 1077 and went to Bayonne, New Jersey, then to Norfolk, Virginia and on through the Panama Canal headed to Pearl Harbor where he helped train a unit on deck before leaving Pearl Harbor. They left Pearl Harbor headed for Japan and were almost there when the atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and were continuing on to Japan when the 2nd bomb was dropped on Nagasaki. When leaving for the invasion of Japan, they were told there would be 2 million casualties. Therefore, when it was announced on the ship the atomic bomb had been dropped, it was cause for much excitement. It was announced twice on the ship the Japanese had surrendered unconditionally. Vernon’s outfit was the first ones to occupy Japan. They were twenty-some miles from Nagasaki when they landed at Wakayama, Japan. While there, they made two trips to the Philippines to take supplies. They returned to Wakayama and on to Pearl Harbor and finally to San Francisco, California and home. He received an honorable discharge on February 21, 1946 at the US Naval Personnel Separation Center located at the US Naval Base, Terminal Island, San Pedro, California. He was a Fireman First Class. Medals received were the Asiatic-Pacific Area Medal, World War II Victory Medal and the American Area Medal.
After his discharge, he and his wife came to Cairo and farmed, then moved to Kansas City in 1961 where he worked on the Wabash Railroad. Later, he started to work for TWA in 1965 and retired from there in 1983. While working at TWA, he learned how to fly a single engine plane, a Cessna 150. Vernon was a charter member of the “Save a Connie” club. After retiring he and a group went to Mesa, AZ to restore the Lockheed Constellation that they later brought back to Kansas City. Upon his retirement from TWA, he and his wife relocated to Holiday Acres at Cairo, MO in 2002.
Vernon went on the Honor Flight to Washington, DC in June 2010. He is a member of the Cairo Baptist Church; Rising Sun Blue Lodge, #13, Kansas City, MO; Milton Blue Lodge 151, Old Milton, MO; and past master of the Cairo Blue Lodge #486, Cairo, MO; Scottish Rite, Kansas City, MO; Ararat Shrine, Kansas City, MO; Coon Creek Shrine, Moberly, MO and Royal Order of Scotland.
He is survived by his wife Betty; two children, Debra Mobley of Kansas City, MO and Roger (Laura) Umphenour of Nixa, MO; grandchildren, Cindy (Bart) Mayfield, Kyle (Amy) Crawford; great grandchildren Austin and Logan Mayfield, Spencer Estes and Emma Crawford, extended family and friends.
Vernon was preceded in death by his parents and was the last survivor of their eight children.
A memorial visitation for Vernon will be Friday, April 6, 2018 from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Pathway Memorial Funeral Home in Moberly. Masonic rites will be held at 1:00 p.m. with Scottish Rites-Rose Croix at 1:20 p.m. Full military honors and inurnment will take place at 2:30 p.m. at Missouri State Veterans Cemetery in Jacksonville.
Memorial contributions would be appreciated to Shriners Hospitals for Children, 2900 Rocky Point Dr. Tampa, FL 33607.