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James Vernon

October 25, 1939 — February 8, 2021

James Vernon

MORTON – 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, Ill., 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, Ohio; four grandchildren, Emma, Elizabeth, Ryan and Jack; sister, Lydia (Russell) Vernon-Jones of Amhurst, Mass.; brother, Rex (Bonny) Vernon of Memphis, Tenn.; 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.

Memorials may be made to the Ilse Droell Memorial Scholarship, c/o Morton Community Foundation via

Knapp-Johnson Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Morton is handling arrangements.

To leave an online condolence for the family, visit

To send flowers to the family in memory of James Vernon, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Private Service

Knapp-Johnson Funeral Home and Cremation Center

140 S. Detroit Ave., Morton, IL 61550

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