October 21, 1923 ~ May 6, 2019
Vernon Douglas Herbst
Longtime Hawthorne resident, Vernon Herbst, passed away peacefully at his home on May 6, 2019. He was 95 years old.
He was born in Leigh, Nebraska on October 21, 1923, to Hans and Elsinda Herbst, the second of four children. He was raised on a farm with his two brothers Virgil and Ivan and sister Veldene. He always credited his arm and back strength to milking cows, harvesting corn and all the rigors of farm work. In the 1930’s they moved to North Platte, Nebraska and operated a gas station and motel. In North Platte, Vernon and his brothers excelled playing American Legion baseball where they frequently played minor league teams passing through and often won. In the 1940 season he batted .439. Vernon was an excellent student as he graduated high school when he was only 16 years old.
In 1941 Vernon and his family moved to Inglewood, California about the time World War II broke out. Due to a previous eye injury he was not able to join the service instead he worked at North American Aviation. Vern played industrial league baseball during these years and a New York Yankee scout once compared his hitting ability to a young Joe DiMaggio.
He met the love of his life, Dolores Wendell, at a dance at the Palladium in Hollywood in 1946. After a number of dates they both fell madly in love and were married in 1948. Vernon and Dolores settled in Hawthorne and raised their three children, Sharon, Douglas, and Marleen. This past July they celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary!
In 1951 Vernon was co-founder of Hawthorne Savings and Loan Association and was President from 1959 to 1993. Under his leadership Hawthorne Savings became a major financial institution in the south bay. Through home purchase and construction loans many people were able to participate in the wealth created by the housing boom of the latter part of the 20th century. Over his tenure Hawthorne Savings grew to 21 branches and over $1 billion in assets. He was known to treat all employees like family and no problem was too big or small for Vernon to help any customer with. Customers loved him because they always knew this humble man “Vern” was always approachable and eager to hear and share stories about anything important to them.
He served the community as an active member of the Kiwanis Club of Hawthorne, was President in 1969 and always played an active role in the Club’s annual Hawthorne Parade and Community Fair. He served on the board of the YMCA, Chamber of Commerce and was Chamber president. Vernon, also, served on the Financial Board at Trinity Lutheran Church where he was a lifelong member.
He enjoyed watching all sports and had season tickets to the Lakers games and the Dodger games where he took with him many friends and customers over the years. He enjoyed vacationing with his family, especially enjoying boating, water-skiing, fishing, and hunting with them. He worshiped faithfully at Trinity Lutheran Church since the 1950’s along with his wife and three children, impacting his family to do the same and follow Jesus. That impact has extended to his Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren.
He will always be known and remembered for his goodness, his honorable character, his sense of humor, his love for his family, love for his community, and his love for God.
Our family will not be the same without him. Vernon is survived by his wife, Dolores Herbst; daughter and son-in-law, Sharon and Warren Carlson; son and daughter-in-law, Douglas and Leisa Herbst; daughter, Marleen Weisz; grandchildren, Joshua, David, Rachel, Paul, Timothy, Rebecca, Ashlee, and 10 Great Grandchildren.
A Memorial Service is scheduled for Saturday, May 18, 2019, at Trinity Lutheran Church, 4783 W 130th Street, Hawthorne at 11:00 am.
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