John Vernon Memorial Fund

John Vernon was a founding member of the Marion Independent School Foundation & Alumni Association, serving on its Board of Trustees from 1989-2015. He continued his work as an Emeritus Trustee until his passing on March 8, 2019 at age 89.

As a Marion High School graduate (class of 1947) and local businessman and attorney, John became involved in many aspects of the Marion community. He was the son of Lula Vernon and former superintendent C.B. Vernon for whom Vernon Middle School is named. He was a graduate of The University of Iowa and served in the U.S. Army. John practiced law in Marion from 1956 to 1962 in a private law practice and served as Marion City Attorney from 1959 to 1962. He entered the bank industry as a co-owner of First National Bank in Marion and showed true innovation by opening a drive-up “motor” bank in 1968 and was the first in the area to offer credit cards. After “retiring” from the bank, he established Allen and Vernon, PLC in 1986, where he practiced law until 1999. John continued providing legal support after this second retirement, receiving the Iowa Bar Association’s 50-Year Member Award in 2006.

In addition to his involvement in Marion through his employment, John served on numerous boards and actively supported community development in a number of ways. He was an active member of the First United Methodist Church throughout his life, served multiple terms on the city’s planning and zoning commission, was a founding and life member of the Kirkwood Foundation Board of Trustees, and served on the Marion Independent School Board for seven years, five of them as president.

John was a member of the Marion Chamber of Commerce, serving as president from 1969 to 1970. He was an originator of the Marion YMCA and was a Century Member of the Marion Historical Museum. He helped secure funding to establish the Marion Library as part of the Marion Library Foundation Board and was instrumental in the development of Lowe Park while serving on the Marion Parks and Recreation Foundation Board. He was a charter member of the Marion Economic Development Corporation (MEDCO), on which he also served as president. John’s involvement with MEDCO spanned projects including the Marion Airport and the Highway 100 Bypass. A supporter of the arts, he helped establish the Marion Arts Festival. Additionally, John was a chief participant in creating Marion’s city manager form of government.

In 1996, John was part of the first group of inductees into the Marion Independent School Foundation’s Hall of Fame, which recognizes those who have excelled in the areas of volunteerism, professional and educational success, and outstanding support of the District and Foundation.

To continue his legacy of giving and support for Marion schools, John’s family has asked memorial contributions be directed to the Marion Independent School Foundation & Alumni Association. The family will host a Celebration of Life on Sunday, June 16th at Lowe Park.

We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit. Company matching gift forms can be mailed to the address below or sent to marionfoundation@marion-isd.orgFor questions, call Erin Steffen at (319) 377-4691 x1110.

John Vernon Memorial Fund

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To make an offline donation:

  1. Make your check payable to "Marion School Foundation"
  2. On the memo line indicate "John Vernon Memorial"
  3. Mail your check to:
    Marion School Foundation
    777 S 15th St.
    Marion, IA 52302

Donation Total: $25.00

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