Walter Newton Vernon, Jr.
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BIOGRAPHY
 
VERNON, WALTER NEWTON, JR. (19071993). Walter N. Vernon, Jr., historian and minister, was born in Verden, Oklahoma, on March 24, 1907, to Rev. Walter N. and Fannie (Dodd) Vernon, both native Texans. The Vernon family spent the first three years of young Walter's life moving around to different Methodist congregations. In 1911 they settled in Paris, Texas, where Vernon went to grammar and secondary school, eventually graduating from Paris High School in 1924. He went on to Paris Junior College and completed his bachelor's degree at Southern Methodist University in 1928. He stayed at SMU and earned a bachelor of divinity in 1931 and a master of arts in 1934. West Virginia Wesleyan College awarded Vernon an honorary doctorate of letters in 1963. While still at SMU, he was elected pastor at the Lakewood Methodist Church in Dallas. He stayed at Lakewood until 1938, when he moved to Nashville, Tennessee, and accepted a position as an assistant editor at the General Board of Education of the United Methodist Church. Vernon remained at the GBE until 1972. In 1953 he was promoted to secretary of the curriculum committee, and his duties expanded to include responsibility for all of the church's school publications. Along with his regular job as an editor, Vernon also devoted considerable time and energy to documenting and preserving the history of the Methodist Church in the United States. His first book, Methodism Moves Across North Texas, was published in 1967. He followed it with Forever Building: The Life and Ministry of Paul E. Martin (1973) and Methodism in Arkansas, 18161976 (1976). Along with others, he contributed to The Methodist Excitement in Texas: A History which was published in 1984. Vernon was married to Ruth Mason and they were the parents of two children. The minister died on March 10, 1993, and was buried at Furneaux Cemetery near Carrollton, Texas.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

Dallas Morning News, March 12, 1993. Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

 

 

OBITUARY

Christian scholar Walter N. Vernon Jr. dies

The Rev. Walter N. Vernon Jr. -- a Christian scholar, editor and historian who chronicled the pioneer years of the United Methodist Church in Texas and Oklahoma -- died Wednesday at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas of congestive heart failure. He was 85.

Services will be at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Lakewood United Methodist Church. Burial will be at Furneaux Cemetery in Carrollton.

A minister for more than six decades, Mr. Vernon spent 34 years as editor of Methodist church school publications in Nashville, Tenn., where he supervised the production of periodicals and Sunday school materials.

The noted historian specialized in the history of the early Methodist church. Among his works were six books on Methodist history, including volumes on Texas Methodism and Indian Methodism in Oklahoma.

Mr. Vernon was a founder and first president of the Texas Methodist Historical Society in 1975.

Before taking his Nashville position, Mr. Vernon was pastor of Lakewood Methodist in Dallas from 1931 to 1938.

A prolific writer, Mr. Vernon was once a special correspondent for The Dallas Morning News and the The Tennessean of Nashville, covering nationwide denominational meetings. He also reviewed religion books for the Dallas Times Herald, edited the religion page for the Dallas Journal and had articles printed in such publications as the East Texas Historical Journal, Methodist History Magazine and Chronicles of Oklahoma.

Mr. Vernon, who retired in 1972 and moved back to Dallas in 1986, had recently been working on a history of the United Methodist Reporter, a national secular newspaper based in Dallas.

In 1983, he was inducted into the United Methodist Association of Communicators Hall of Fame.

During his long career, Mr. Vernon served on numerous boards and agencies within the denomination's North Texas Conference. In the 1950s, he was a member of a National Council of Churches audio-visual team that toured 10 African nations and was a delegate to the World Council on Christian Education in Tokyo.

The son of a pioneer Methodist minister, Mr. Vernon was born in 1907 in western Oklahoma, where his father preached to white settlers and American Indians through interpreters.

Mr. Vernon lived in several Texas and Oklahoma towns before he graduated from Paris High School in Paris, Texas. He graduated as valedictorian from Paris Junior College in 1926 before receiving bachelor's, master's and doctor of divinity degrees from Southern Methodist University. He received an honorary doctorate from West Virginia Wesleyan College in 1963.

Survivors include his wife, Ruth Vernon of Dallas; one son, Walter Vernon III of Prairie Village, Kan.; one daughter, Kathleen Frances Clark of Florence, Ala.; one brother, Dodd Vernon of Dallas; three sisters, Ruth Vernon Nyfeler, Pauline Vernon Miller and Opal Vernon Nicholls, all of Dallas; five grandchildren; and a great-grandchild.

The Dallas Morning News - Friday, March 12, 1993
Submitted by Edward Lynn Williams

 


VERNON
RUTH MASON 1909-2003
REV WALTER N. Jr. 1907-1993

Furneaux Cemetery, Carrollton, Denton County, Texas
 

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