Vernon Keith Dove

July 26, 1936 – Dec. 30, 2019  

Vernon Keith Dove was born in a small town in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, July 26, 1936, as the first child of Virginia Vail Dove and Laverne Eugene “Babe” Dove. He died Dec. 30, 2019. 

Vern was raised on a farm where family, faith, fun and a strong work ethic framed his early life. He had two brothers born there, Max “Mickie” Evan Dove and Jack Earl Dove. Mickie passed at a tender age and Vern’s love for family was strengthened.

Vern learned to love music and turned out to be quite good at it. He sang in his (Byron) high school choir, and his talent took him to state championships. 

He also liked just having fun. He and his buddies were known for their hijinks. He and his friend, John Petrich, once put a goat on the roof of the church on Halloween. It wasn’t hard to figure out who did it.

Vern was a handsome man. Combine that with his music and his outgoing ways and it is not hard to see that love was in the shadows. Mary Maxine Weller was exceptionally beautiful, and he set his sights on her. The race was on. He chased her until she caught him. They married Dec. 27, 1954, and celebrated their 65th anniversary this year.

Vernon Keith Dove

Since Vern’s family didn’t have electricity until he was in the fifth grade, he joined the Air Force hoping for warmer climate. Rapid City, S.D., was his first duty station. Jayce Allen Dove would be born there. Mary Maxine was pregnant when Vern was deployed solo to Japan, so she moved closer to family while he was gone. Brian Dee Dove was born in Powell. 

Vern used his determination to get a duty station in Biloxi, Miss. Vern would go on to serve in Wurzburg, Germany, where the youngest of his three children, Mary Virginia Dove, would be born. After that they went back to Biloxi and warmer weather.

December of 1969 would bring out the character that most only got a glimpse of. A car accident put Mary in the hospital for months. One evening early on in her hospitalization, Mary Maxine was so fidgety she pulled her IVs out. The doctor said, “If she makes it through the night, we’ll put them back in. For now, let her be comfortable.” 

Vern went home. He took a shower, and unclothed, wet and crushed, he sat on the edge of his bed and was overwhelmed with the Lord’s Prayer. He was overcome with comfort that God would handle everything. The faith he had been carrying was put to the test. He trusted God. His mother, his other two brothers, Rex Arthur Campbell and Douglas Finch Johnson, and his sister, Glenda Vee Campbell, would come from Wyoming and move in to help. Vern again found a way to overcome.

With almost 17 years in the Air Force, he was asked to reenlist and was told he would have an 18-month solo deployment. Vern said thanks, but no thanks. He would not leave his wife. The Air Force didn’t believe him and soon learned what he was made of. After 17 years, with no retirement, he took a job in Pensacola setting up an electronics class in a vocational technical school. He showed up and found three tables, eight chairs, no books, no equipment, a white board and 15 students. By the end of his first nine months he had two years of curriculum, all 15 students and a career path for some of them. 

Vern left there and went to Tennessee to talk his way into a raise and a job in airplane electronics repair. They didn’t have a job for him when he walked in the door. They did by the time he left. 

Vern worked there a year, and the call of the coast drew him again. He joined Ingalls Shipyard and became an Ingalloid. After his retirement from Ingalls, he was ready to enjoy more time with his family and friends, working in his workshop and volunteering at church. 

All along the coast, he built friendships and became a smile ambassador, encouraging a smile from people he met daily. If you waited on him at a restaurant or stood beside him in line at a store, he gave a smile and drew one out of you, too. Vern also built his faith with dear friends at Beauvoir United Methodist Church. 

Today we celebrate the life of Vernon Keith Dove. He leaves an earthly legacy of  wife, Mary Maxine Weller Dove; three children, Jayce Allen (Beth) Dove, Brian Dee (Joy, deceased) Dove and Mary Virginia Dove (AJ) Galloway; and nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He also leaves behind three brothers and a sister. 

These legacies are not uncommon to a man who has been blessed. He also leaves a legacy that many men only strive for, a love for God that showed on his face and in his actions and a love for people that God so graciously put in his path. It is a trail of smiles and encouragement. 

God bless you and your legacy, Vernon Keith Dove. The seeds of love and encouragement you have planted will continue to blossom and produce fruit for generations to come, expressed the family.

The family of Vernon Keith Dove would like to thank the many people who have cared for them in their journey. They are especially grateful for the care given by Hospice of Light. 

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Shriners Hospital in Shreveport, La., would be appreciated.

Services were held Monday, Jan. 6, 2020, at 1 p.m. at Beauvoir United Methodist Church in Biloxi, with a visitation for family and friends at 11 a.m. until the service. Graveside services followed at Biloxi National Cemetery.

Riemann Family Funeral Home in Biloxi is proudly serving the family. An online obituary may be viewed and photos and condolences shared at www.riemannfamily.com.