Vernon DeBoer, 87

Longtime Anchorage resident Vernon Lloyd DeBoer, 87, died Jan. 25, 2006, of complications from a stroke at Providence Medical Center in Medford, Ore.

A memorial service was Jan. 30 at the First Reformed Church in Harrison, S.D. Interment followed at the Harrison Cemetery.

Mr. DeBoer was born Feb. 23, 1918, on a farm near Corsica, S.D., to James and Nellie (Lefers) DeBoer. He attended a one-room country school near Corsica. During the Depression, he moved to the Los Angeles area and worked on the assembly line, spray-painting cars for General Motors Corp. On July 12, 1941, he married his childhood sweetheart, Lavonne Brink.

He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 and served in the South Pacific during World War II. He took part in the invasion of Tarawa and Makin in the Gilbert Islands in November 1943. He was wounded in the battle for Tarawa.

After his discharge, he and his wife drove the Alaska Highway for the first time in March 1947, intending to work in Anchorage just for the coming summer. The trip over mostly gravel roads took 31 days, and many of the river crossings were done on the ice. They towed a house trailer that Vernon had made, which became their living quarters for that first summer. They never moved from Alaska.

Mr. DeBoer's first job in Anchorage was for Gilman's Bakery, wrapping bread and maintaining the equipment. He transitioned into construction, building homes and rentals in the Mountain View area. By the 1970s, Mr. DeBoer was specializing in finish carpentry and built cabinets for contractors and private homes.

During his lifetime in Alaska, Mr. DeBoer made 50 trips over the Alaska Highway. His travels took him to all 50 states. He also loved woodworking, gardening and crocheting.

He is survived by Lavonne, his wife of 64 years; daughter and son-in-law, Sharon and Bill Little of Medford, Ore.; grandchildren, Katryn and Rob Little; sister, Genevieve Baas of Corsica; and brothers, Orville and Fred DeBoer, also of Corsica.

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