Vernon John Bame passed away on May 11, 2014, with his family at his side, in Phoenix, Ariz. He was born in Bellingham on April 27, 1935, to Marian and John Bame. They lived in Okanogan until the spring of 1943, when they moved to Twisp. He has lived in the valley ever since. He became interested in cars at an early age and always had a car that was a little faster than most of his friends’ cars. He loved working on cars, his own and others. He quit school in his senior year to go to work at the local mill. Years later he went back and studied for his GED test. He received a letter of excellence from the governor, congratulating him for having one of the highest grades at that time.
He married Mary Ann Motzkus on Nov. 23, 1955, in the Methodist church in Winthrop. They were married 58 years. They have three children: Randy (Char) Bame, Phoenix; Anita (Gregg) Sweeney, Medical Lake, Wash.; and Mike (Gwen) Bame, Austin, Texas.
Vernon worked for 30 years at the local lumber mill until its closure. Then he spent the next 17 years working for Lloyd Logging in their shop as a mechanic and sometimes driving a logging truck. He retired in 2000. He loved baseball and played on the local town team in Winthrop where he lived for the first two years after he was married. Years later he played on the over-50 baseball team.
Vernon was one of the original seven men who started the Winthrop Horseman Rodeo. He also was an Eagles member for many years.
He was known for wearing T-shirts and baseball caps that made a statement or caught your eye, (for instance, “I listen to what the voices in my wife’s head tell me to do”).
His main interests, besides cars, were horses and guns. The last five years he had two Volkswagen Bajas, one in Yuma to take out and explore the desert with his friends, and the other to take out into the back country around the Methow Valley with his wife and their very special friend, Donna Martin.
He was preceded in death by his parents, one son, a granddaughter and grandson, and a nephew. Besides his wife and children he leaves behind 12 grandchildren and a great-granddaughter born just nine days after his death; a sister, Sharon (Leroy) Lemaster of Medical Lake; and an uncle Dick (Shirley) Morseman of Battleground, Wash.; as well as three nieces, four nephews and numerous cousins.
Vernon was very proud of his children and their many accomplishments, and all of his grandkids. He never missed a chance to bore people about his two grandsons who were in the U.S. Air Force — one who was supervisor over the mechanics on a C-17 and the other who was a loadmaster on a C-17. He got a lot of flak from his friends for owning a foreign car after being a life-long Ford owner and giving anyone who drove a foreign car a bad time. He said he didn’t drive a foreign car, he had just gone international!
His passing has left a big hole in our family. He will not be forgotten.
A celebration of his life will be held on June 29 at 2 p.m. at the Methow Valley Community Center in Twisp, with a potluck to follow at the Senior Center. In lieu of flowers, a donation to the Community Center or Senior Center would be appreciated.