Coping with Grief
We would like to offer our sincere support to anyone coping with grief. Enter your email below for our complimentary daily grief messages. Messages run for up to one year and you can stop at any time. Your email will not be used for any other purpose.
The world became a little less colorful on Sunday, October 22, 2023 when Verl G. Deming, 72, passed away in Salina, Kansas. Those who crossed paths with this witty, fun, sometimes wildly inappropriate, but loving human being never had to wonder how he felt about anything. If it wasn’t written on his face, he had no problem saying it with spice and a string of colorful words. Verl was born to loving and adoring parents, Earl J. “Bud” Deming, Jr. and Violet L. (Kempke) Deming on September 18, 1951.
Verl, coined as the “Golden Child” by his older (late) brother, Earl, began working with his father at ‘Deming Construction’ – a family-owned business – in high school and working full-time side by side with his dad after returning home from college. Bud and Verl shared years of laughs, love, little “ditties” and colorful language with one another until Verl eventually took over the construction business when his dad retired.
Verl met the love of his life, Anne Havlik, in the summer of 1979. Despite conflicting stories of who chased who, we believe that Verl laid the charm on thick and eventually asked Anne to marry him in May 1982. Anne asked Verl to pick a date and he replied, “July 31!”, thinking there were only 30 days in July – or so the story was told many times by Verl. On July 31, 1982, Verl and Anne tied the knot. Each year on their anniversary when asked how long they had been married, he always replied, “____ glorious years”. Last July, they celebrated 41 glorious years together.
After retiring from his private business, Verl remained in construction and helped build the Ellsworth Correctional Facility (ECF) where both he and Anne later became employed. Together, they worked a combined total of almost 60 years for ECF.
During the first four years of their marriage, Verl and Anne spent their time together with lifelong friends and their children. After a few years of marriage, Verl and Anne accepted the fact that children might not be in their cards. They were living vicariously through their best friends but enjoying the fact that they didn’t have any responsibilities and had plenty of freedom to come and go as they pleased – when they found out in 1986 that they would be having a baby in November! Verl and Anne welcomed their daughter, Randi, into the world on November 17. Three and a half years later, their son, Ross, completed the family of four and was born on April 19, 1990. Both Randi and Ross had a blessed childhood with many amazing memories. As a family, they spent time at the lake with Anne and Verl’s close friends and their children and enjoyed cruising dirt roads with the windows down and music blaring. Verl, his family, and good family friends made many memories and met more friends while attending Kansas State University football games for a couple of decades and were active members of the local Catbacker group. You could catch Verl and Randi at many KSU basketball games as well. Verl shared a love of sports with Randi and a love of vintage Chevy vehicles with Ross. Blazer rides with his family and the annual Father’s Day Blazer Cruise with Ross with the top down and wind in his hair was one of his favorite past times and memories made together. Verl gave Randi and Ross an appreciation for The Oldies and Rock and Roll. Janis Joplin, Pink Floyd, Lynard Skynyrd, Tom Petty, the Beach Boys, Aretha Franklin (Queen of Soul), Otis Redding, and many others played in their living room while Verl and Anne danced like no one was watching. Verl could twist and shout and swing with the best of them. He always said that Fred and Ginger didn’t hold a candle to him and Anne.
They went on several vacations over the years. If Anne and the kids wanted to stop at every “dog and pony show”, or needed too many bathroom breaks, Verl became “Happy Pappy”, a sarcastic name given to him on one of their trips. Obviously calling Verl Happy Pappy never made the situation any better, and neither did the mule at Mount Rushmore that spit banana all over the window of his freshly washed car.
Verl joined the Catholic Church in April of 1995 so he could receive communion with his daughter when she made her First Communion later that month. He was an active member of St. Bernard for years with his family and a member of Knights of Columbus.
Verl retired from ECF as the Key Control Specialist Sergeant, oversaw the armory and was a firearms instructor. During his almost 28 years at the facility, he met more life-long friends that he and Anne considered family. In retirement, he was kept busy and entertained by his wife who retired a couple of years later, his children, and the exorbitant number of activities that his grandchildren were involved in. Verl exposed a much softer side of himself when he became a grandfather. He was an active and thoughtful “Papa”/”PopPop”. Despite moments of gruffness he tried to display, the grandkids had a way of melting his heart. He was still attending any event he could make it to of the grandkids – right up to the very end. If he wasn’t able to make it, he made sure he called several times and always requested pictures and videos. He will be greatly missed by grandchildren (Randi and Eric Nienke) Roselyn, Kaeden, Elliette, and Holten, and (Ross and Stephanie Deming) Corbin, Keegan, Paige, Jade, and Raegan.
Verl was a proud, lifelong resident of Ellsworth, Kansas. When there was ever a discussion of his children moving from Ellsworth, Verl would either ignore the discussion altogether or get fairly vocal that Ellsworth had everything you needed – why go anywhere else? Reading between the lines, he was staying in Ellsworth, and he was everything you needed!
Verl was so appreciative of everything his wife, Anne, had done for him in the last couple of years. Recently, he called Randi and told her that Anne needed a certificate made. He didn’t know how to do it, but he would tell Randi what needed to be on there! The list was so long that Randi told Verl she needed him to write it all down because she would never remember all of it. He told any nurse, doctor, or bystander that his wife needed an “RN” tacked on the end of her name. “She’s the best damn caregiver anyone could ask for.” He mentioned many times that he had no idea what he did to be so lucky to have married such an amazing woman.
We imagine Verl was greeted at the Pearly Gates with a welcoming party hosted by his parents, brother, sister Marlene, and a few family members and friends he missed dearly. We know Verl is watching down on his wife, kids, and grandkids and smiling proudly with his chest puffed out the way it got any time he talked about his family. We know he will be cheering on his Duke Blue Devils and, of course, his K-State Wildcats. Whenever you hear EMAW, make sure you think of Verl. When Dick Vitale said, “He’s awesome baby!!”, we know he was talking about Verl.
Visitation: 1-7 p.m., Thursday, October 26, 2023 at Parsons Funeral Home, Ellsworth. Family will receive friends 5-7 p.m. and a vigil and rosary service will start at 7:00 p.m.
Funeral mass: 11:00 a.m., Friday, October 27, 2023 at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church, Ellsworth with a luncheon following.
Memorial contributions can be made to Caring Families Foundation (for school lunches, after school snacks, and youth activities), c/o, Parsons Funeral Home, PO Box 45, Ellsworth, KS 67439.