Howard Wilton Vernon Jr.
Howard Wilton Vernon Jr., 84, of Coralville, passed away Nov. 28, 2019, at his home surrounded by his loving family.
A gathering to celebrate
his life will be held Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2019, from 4 to 6 p.m.
at Lensing Funeral and Cremation Service, 605 Kirkwood Ave., Iowa City. A reception will follow at the Kirkwood Room, 515 Kirkwood Ave., until 8 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Compassus Hospice or Iowa City High School Foundation for Athletics or Fine Arts.
Howard was born April 16, 1935, in Des Moines to Howard and Lois (Boyd) Vernon. He married Alma Thompson on Aug. 19, 1956. The couple later had two children and spent 63 memorable years together.
Howard received a BS degree in 1957 from Upper Iowa University and a MA degree from Drake University in secondary education in 1962. He also had taken several hours toward a doctoral degree at the University of Iowa.
While attending Upper Iowa, Howard lettered four years in football and baseball and two years in basketball. In 1956 and 1957 he was captain of the Peacock football team and was chosen to the All-Conference team. He was the catcher on an undefeated baseball team in 1956 and was president of his senior class and editor of the school annual.
His teaching career began at West Central High School, Maynard, where he also was the athletics director and football coach from 1957 until 1962. His football team won the Upper Iowa Conference Championship in 1961 and also were the mythical state champions that year. Howard later served as a teacher, football coach, vice principal and principal at East High School of Waterloo from 1962 until 1973. While at East High School, he began the longest football winning streak in Iowa with 57 consecutive wins. From 1966 until 1968, Howard's teams were the state champions.
In 1967, Howard was honored by the Des Moines Register as High School Football Coach of the Year in Iowa. He was inducted into the Waterloo Sports of Sorts Hall of Fame in 1970, the Iowa Football Coaches Hall of Fame in 1972 and the Upper Iowa University Athletic Hall of Fame in 1984.
From 1973 until 1979, Howard was associated with the University of Iowa as the offensive coordinator of Hawkeye football, sports school director, college relations outreach specialist and assistant director of the University of Iowa Foundation for athletic fundraising. From 1979 until 1996 he served as the principal at City High School of Iowa City, where he coined the phrase "The School that Leads" and won the Principal of the Year Award in 1989. He retired in 1996 and was a member of Rotary and the Masonic Lodge.
He is survived by his wife, Alma Vernon of Coralville; two children, Howard Vernon III (Tami) of Iowa City and Vicki Vernon Sueppel (Bart) of Solon; one brother, Dorn Vernon of California; two sisters, Shirley Berry and Rita Pratt, both of Des Moines; his grandchildren, Michael Vernon (Kerri) of Crozet, Va., Sarah Parsons (Brad) of Mediapolis, Iowa, Amy Vernon of Iowa City, Iowa, and Nick Sueppel of Solon, Iowa; and his great-grandchildren, Michael Vernon II, Trevor Vernon, Sydni Vernon, Nolan Richardson, Samantha Parsons and Mackenzie Parsons.
He was preceded in death by his parents; and two siblings, Robert Vernon and Helen Vernon Vaux.
The family would like to thank the Compassus Hospice team of Denise, Becky, Toni and Emily for the care they provided to Howard.
Online condolences may be sent to the family at www.lensingfuneral.com.