Vernelle Evans Stephens
June 17, 1928 - August 20, 2022
September 8, 2022
Vernelle Evans Stephens was born June 17th 1928 in San Bernadino, California to Eugene H. and Edna (Stub) Evans Stephens. The family later returned to Ewan where Eugene passed away ten years later in 1938, leaving Edna to manage the farm with their five children. Vernelle was only nine years old.
Vernelle attended school in Ewan, St. John and for a time, attended Eastern Washington College in Cheney. On December 31st 1948 he married Jacqueline Starkey of Pine City. His earliest job was working on the Milwaukee Rail Road on the “section” out of Pine City and later as a Rail Road Fireman out of Malden. Their first child, Paula, was born at that time, followed by daughter Stephanie and son Patrick.
While growing his family, Vernelle had begun work at Palouse Ammonia, which later grew into Western Farm Services and then Agrum. He became a manager and visited farms all over Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho selling products.
After 31 years he retired to spend his time traveling with Jackie throughout the world. He continued his hobby of gardening, making sauerkraut, hunting, fishing and being involved in community activities. He was active in the Pine City Gun Club where he mentored young trap shooters and he himself won the Spokesman Review 2002 C Class and the 2008 Spokesman Review Shoot in the Senior Veteran’s Class. For these he was awarded plaques.
Vernelle was active in his community. He was a Past Master of the Kenova Grange and a strong participant in the Pine City Historical Society, particularly in the maintenance and upkeep of the Old Stone Church prior to it’s destruction in the 2020 Babb Fire.
His final years were spent at Touchmark of Spokane where he enjoyed the company of, as he put it, “people I have known for my entire life.” His greatest joy and some of his most prominent memories were of flying his own plane over the land that he loved with all his heart. He truly admired, respected and loved his many friends through the generations and was proud to serve the farming community of his home.