Verle ” Otis” Vermilion, 93, a loving, caring husband, father, grandpa, & friend, was called Home to be with his Savior & Lord on July 21, 2020, in OKC. Otis was born February 10, 1927, on a wheat farm in Ransom, Kansas, to Frank & Daisy (Hazen) Vermilion. He was one of 5 children, yet only 3 sons lived beyond infancy. Otis loved telling stories of riding his favorite pony to the one room country school he attended until the Dust Bowl Days when the family could no longer make a living on the farm. They moved to Missouri for several years and then later to Parsons, KS, where he graduated from high school. Upon turning 18, Otis joined the Navy, served during WWII and in the Naval Reserve until 1954. After the war he returned to Parsons where he met and fell in love with Livona Calvird. They dated throughout Junior College and while Otis attended Baker University in Baldwin, KS. Every weekend he rode his motorcycle back to Parsons to visit Livona. He graduated with a degree in Business Administration in 1950. Otis & Livona were married May 28, 1950 in Kansas City and later moved to Oklahoma where they raised their 3 children.
Otis loved meeting people and hearing their story and the various positions he held at Occidental, American Fidelity, and North American Insurance Agency afforded him that opportunity. He retired from NAIA in 1992 as Assistant VP and Manager of Life & Employee Benefits. He didn’t stay retired long, as he soon joined the John Winblad Agency, and John became a dear friend to him; his 2nd retirement was in 2013. Otis had a way of making people feel special and always had a positive word of encouragement. He was actively involved in Village Christian Church as a deacon and an elder for over 50 years. He later got involved in Promise Keepers and Bible study and his passions became his faith and his family.
Having a heart for serving others, Otis loved volunteering, and was involved in many community service activities. He actively participated in Kiwanis International for over 41 years, serving 3 times as president of Casady Kiwanis & relished giving out Terrific Kids Awards as a part of the Terrific Kids program that promotes character development, self-esteem and perseverance. He also enjoyed being a Whiz Kids tutor & mentor. He readily welcomed friends & numerous international students into their home, especially during the holidays. And he was always available to give a ride or helping hand.
Otis loved spending time with his family and was a beloved & devoted father and grandfather, always enjoyed attending and supporting his children and grandchildren in all their activities including softball & soccer games, band performances and competitions, piano and ballet recitals, stock shows, swim meets, Scouts, robotic competitions & choir concerts, to name a few.
Lifelong friends grew out of the weekly Thursday Night Group which met for fellowship, book discussions, and prayer for almost 50 years. They also enjoyed numerous trips & vacations together. Otis thoroughly enjoyed square dancing, Toastmasters, traveling, loved to sing especially in his younger years and in his golden years he loved listening to hymns and praise & worship music and having devotionals and Scriptures read to him.
He is preceded in death by his parents, siblings Russell, Rita, Vita, & Elvin Vermilion, and his wife, Livona, of 64 years. He is survived by his children, Kent Vermilion of OKC, OK, Marcia Russell (husband Byron) of Edmond, OK, and Jana Rigsby (husband DJ)of Garland, TX (soon to be Athens, TX). Also his grandchildren, Madison Feng (husband Max) of San Antonio, TX, Benjamin Russell of Milwaukee, WI, Paige Rigsby of Houston, TX, and Graham Russell (wife Melanie)of Tulsa, OK, and nephew, Kevin Vermilion of Santa Clara, CA. We are so very grateful for the wonderful and loving caregivers & staff at Eden Senior Care and those that looked after him from Humanity Hospice.
A Celebration of Otis’ life will be held Saturday, September 5, 2020, at 10:30 am at Resurrection Memorial Cemetery Chapel. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to St Jude’s Children Research Hospital.