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Vernon Sievert served in the Air Force, won air medal with three bronze stars

Saturday, August 30, 2014 | 5:32 p.m. CDT; updated 5:44 p.m. CDT, Saturday, August 30, 2014

COLUMBIA — He liked to dance, and she did too. Vernon Sievert and his wife, Marjean Sievert, frequented dances sponsored by the Ashland Senior Center for years.

"We were neighbors when I was young — about 13 or 14," Marjean Sievert said. "I didn't really know him well until our church sponsored a trip to Tennessee. I'd been a widow for a year, and at the end of the trip, he asked me out to dinner."

Mr. Sievert of Ashland died Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. He was 94.

Mr. Sievert, the youngest of five children, was born March 29, 1920, in Old Truxton to Gustave and Ada (Bahr) Sievert. He married June Hawkins on April 6, 1944. After his first wife passed away in 1999, he married Marjean Miller in 2000.

Mr. Sievert began work as MU's university cashier directly after graduating in 1948 with a bachelor's degree in public administration. He was also briefly employed by General Motors and Westinghouse Electric in Kansas City. Before school, he was a ball turret gunner in the Air Force during World War II. He flew a B-17 bomber nicknamed Lil' Audrey and was eventually awarded an air medal with three bronze stars in 2012.

"After he came home from service, he would tell stories about how they delivered care packages to Holland," Marjean Sievert said. "He said that the people below would run, grab the food and blow them kisses. He always talked about how heartwarming it was to help people like that."

Mr. Sievert was also involved in many civic organizations. He was president of the Conservation Business Management Association, the Association of Government Accounts and the Administrative Management Society. For his work, he received the Diamond Merit Award for outstanding service and was voted "Boss of the Year" by the American Business Women's Association in 1970.

Mr. Sievert spent many years of his life dedicated to his faith. He had been a member of Ashland Baptist Church since 1958.

"For him, church was a place you knew you could go to work together," his daughter, Margery Detring, said. "He went to learn and listen, and he loved the music. He was always generous and thought that giving was a really great thing."

Detring said her father was always respectful and seldom raised his voice.

"Especially when I was a teenager, he didn't always agree with me," she said. "Star Trek used to come on late, and sometimes when we were disagreeing we would just spend time together without arguing. He knew the difference between a disagreement and a difference of opinion was just the attitude."

Mr. Sievert is survived by his wife, Marjean (Miller) Sievert; a daughter, Margery Detring; two grandchildren, John and Erika; three great-grandchildren, Brennan, Kylie and Eli; two sisters, Ruth Laney and Jane Belk; and a brother, G. Gale Sievert.

His first wife, June (Hawkins) Sievert; three brothers, Arnold, David and Zolen; and two sisters, Pauline and Vera, died earlier.

Visitation will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at Ashland Baptist Church, 203 E. Broadway, with services following at 11 a.m. Burial will follow at New Salem Cemetery.

Donations can be made to Hospice Compassus, the Ashland Baptist Church or Wounded Warriors Project.


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