Vernon Clifford McKinley, age 92, passed away on Sunday, Oct. 21 in Stillwater, Okla. He was born on Feb. 19, 1920 in Kinta, Okla., to C. R. and Linnie (Wortham) McKinley. He was the youngest boy in a family of five boys and five girls.
Vernon’s early years were spent in the Kinta area, working as a farm hand and as part of his family’s cattle business. He graduated from Kinta High School in 1939 and worked for the railroad prior to enrolling in college. He attended Oklahoma A&M College (now Oklahoma State University) and graduated with a degree in Animal Husbandry in 1944. In Oct. 1943, he married Lugene Helton of Barnsdall, Okla. His son Craig and his daughter Laverna were born to Lugene and Vernon.
Vernon’s first professional position was that of Assistant County Agent for the Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service in Cherokee County, Okla. He then spent a brief amount of time managing a Hereford ranch near Enid prior to rejoining the Extension Service in 1948. Vernon and his family moved to Pauls Valley in 1951 and lived in several parts of the Garvin County area until 1965. During this time he worked for the Cooperative Extension Servce and then managed Glenbar Farms, which was a registered Angus ranch. He spent a brief amount of time in 1965 managing an Angus ranch near Gordon, Texas. He returned to Garvin County, again with the Extension Service in 1965. In the latter part of his career he also served with the Extension Service in Love and Kiowa counties.
Following Lugene’s death in 1975, he married Berniece Dykeman of Stratford, Okla. In 1990 he married Francis Ruth Burtnett. Vernon and Ruth operated a cattle ranch near Stratford until moving to Pauls Valley in 1998.
Throughout his life, Vernon served in active roles in organizations such as the Lions Club, Cattlemen’s Associations, and the United Methodist Church.He was a strong advocate for education and spent a great deal of his career in that arena. He also was an ardent supporter of Oklahoma State University, as he believed many of his successes in life were made possible by the education he received at that institution.He enjoyed working outdoors, particularly that related to ranching. He also enjoyed associating with others through church affiliations, dominos and bridge games. His friends and family were his greatest joys.
Vernon is survived by his daughter Laverna of Jamestown, Colo., his son Craig and wife Jean of Stillwater, and his grandson Scott and wife Brittany of Stillwater. He is also survived by his sister Mrs. W. J. Council of Ponca City and a brother-in-law and sister-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Harmon of Florissant, Mo. His extended family includes a number of nieces and nephews.
Funeral services are scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 25, at 2:00 p.m. in the First United Methodist Church of Pauls Valley with Rev. Al Potts officiating. Interment will be in the Mt. Olivet Cemetery under the direction of Wooster Funeral Home. Memorials may be made to the First United Methodist Church of Pauls Valley, 401 N. Willow, Pauls Valley, OK 73075. You may send a condolence to the family at www.woosterfuneralhomes.com.