Vernon Robert Maack was born on February 5, 1926, to John and Ruby (Johnson) Maack. Vern’s mom passed away when he was a young boy. His father later married Ida Seelye. Vern was raised with love, kindness and a very strong work ethic on his family farm near Foxhome, MN.
In 1943, Vernon began his service to this nation when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy as a pilot in the V-5 flight program. He served until 1946. Vern graduated from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis with a degree in Distributive Education. He later earned his master’s degree in Education Administration.
It was during his time at the U of M that Vern met the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. He fell in love with Beverly Jean Peterson. They were married in 1948. After graduation they moved to Alexandria, MN, and Vern began a teaching position at Jefferson High School. They built their home at 14th and Elm Street near the park. In 1952, they had baby Barbara who was the image of and the apple of her daddy’s eye. Steve came along 2 ½ years later. They felt tragedy swoop in when Barbara, age 5, died from meningitis. Two years later Jon would be born. He added new light in his parent’s eyes. Their home near the park was a haven for the family.
While Vern certainly retained his roots in farming, he was driven to excel in all things including education and teaching. Vern was a visionary, an innovator, a man with incredible ambition, driven to accomplish his dream. That dream founded the Alexandria Technical College. His insight and leadership successfully guided the Technical College from its formative stages in 1961. He had a knack for arousing high morale among the professional staff, always keeping on top of situations while planning for the future. That dream came with many battles fought on behalf of expanding the school with more and more opportunities. Vern retained an atmosphere that encouraged respect for learning and a high standard of achievement for each student in each program. Vern retired from being the school’s first director in 1984. In 1961, we didn’t know it but the foundation for a world class technical college was being built in a small town in the middle of America, Alexandria, MN. Vern’s original level of commitment carried the school through future directors to its present posture. His dream went on to encourage thousands of graduates in their own lifetime dreams. When Vern retired, he was so proud when the city of Alexandria christened a street across from the college “Vern Maack Drive”.
Vern’s pride and joy was his boys. Vern spent thousands of hours playing and watching ball games. Then one day he earned the well deserved ‘prime standing spot’ at T-ball, baseball and football. He’d quietly watch each pitch, catch, hit, homerun, tackle and touchdown. In the winter he’d cross over to watch each bounce pass, rebound, free throw, and assist in the Cardinal gym where his sons were his own personal heroes. He never missed a game. He never missed a chance to say, “I love you son,” or “I’m proud of you son”. Hugs were not a scarcity.
Being raised ‘up north’ on the farm created a deep love of the outdoors. He stayed very busy with his hobby farm and tractors. He also introduced his boys to the great outdoors. Together they’d spend the fall at the hunting cabin where they loved the deep woods and ponds. He was happiest hunting ducks, grouse, pheasant, and deer. He also loved fishing for walleyes. Fishing trips with his sons and several close buddies were an annual event. When Vern became a grandpa, he entered the realm of phase II never missing a game or band parade. He was always a proud Dad and Grandpa.
Vern and Bev left their home by the park to move to Grand Arbor in 2013. After some time there Vern moved to memory care. He would beam with pleasure each time his caregiver would walk him to see Bev, his honey, and he could tell her he loved her. Bev passed away after 72 years of marriage in 2020. There have been nurses and caregivers to Vern that have melted our hearts with their kindness and friendships to Vern. We thank you with all our hearts.
Vern is survived by his two sons Steve (Jana) Maack and Jon Maack, his grandchildren Brody (Sarah) Maack and Whitney (Micah) Savage, his great grandchildren Eli, Gus and Lola Maack, Vern’s sisters Janice (Warren) Helgeson and Judith (David) Emery, his brother Robert (Janet) Maack, his brother in-law Nick (Gayle) Peterson, and many nieces and nephews.
On June 4, 2023, Vern was welcomed into the arms of Jesus and reunited with his beloved wife Beverly and his cherished daughter Barbara. Also preceding him are his parents John, Ruby, and Ida Maack, his sister Joan Pinkney, his brothers and sisters-in-law Lyle and Ethel Maack and Glen and Etta Maack.
A funeral service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 15, 2023, at First Lutheran Church in Alexandria. Visitation will be held for one hour prior to the service at the church. Interment will be at Kinkead Cemetery in Alexandria. Military Honors were provided by the Alexandria Veterans Memorial Unit and the U.S. Navy Honors.