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Verna Burnison

Verna Burnison obituary photoVerna Burnison, 88, of Huron, died Friday, November 25, 2011, at the Huron Regional Medical Center after suffering a stroke.  Her funeral service was at 2 PM Wednesday, November 30th at Riverview United Methodist Church with the Rev. Barry Whipkey officiating.  Burial was in the Restlawn Memory Gardens Cemetery. 

Verna Lorraine Westgard Burnison was born November 13, 1923, to Oscar and Mollie Peterson Westgard on her parents’ farm near Astoria, South Dakota. She attended rural school through eighth grade and high school in Astoria. She graduated from General Beadle State Teachers College, Madison, South Dakota. Her first teaching experience was in a rural school. Although teaching was enjoyable, her love for adventure led her to enroll in radio technology school in Minneapolis, Minnesota, followed by additional training in Civil Aeronautics in Seattle, Washington. She then worked as an aircraft communicator in Alaska. Later she returned to education and taught seventh and eighth grade in Alpena, South Dakota for three years and four years in Sibley, Iowa.

On August 6, 1950, she was married to Earl Burnison. They lived in Alpena for five years before moving to Huron. They were blessed with four children and were married for 61 years.

Her life-long love for learning continued through her membership in PEO, GFWC Fortnightly and several bridge clubs. Verna had supported Earl in their family business, Burnison Plumbing and Heating, since 1955. She was a dedicated member and volunteer at Riverview United Methodist Church.

Verna’s passion for the arts was expressed through her paintings, stitchery, and quilting. She enjoyed attending her grandchildren’s sporting events, musical and theatrical performances. Verna and Earl took trips to Germany, Spain, Mexico, and Hawaii, but home was her sanctuary where all felt warmth and were greeted regularly with baking aromas.

Grateful for sharing her life are her husband, Earl; one son, Doug (Cindy) Burnison of Huron; three daughters, Mona (Ken) Farnsworth of Duchesne, Utah, Margo (Bill) Anderson of Huron, Becky (John) Schroeder of Gillette, Wyoming; thirteen grandchildren, Megan Farnsworth Dickson, Maren Farnsworth Richards, Margo Farnsworth Abbott, Chandelle Anderson, Mollie Anderson Zautke, Emily Schroeder, Erik Burnison, Drake Burnison, Julianne Schroeder, Ashley Schroeder, Ben Farnsworth, Alex Farnsworth and Rob Skramstad; six great-grandchildren;  one sister, Audrey Bergjord of White, South Dakota; and three sisters-in-law, Helen (Cecil) Burnison, Rose  (LeRoy) Burnison, and Dorothy (Burnison) Berkley.

Verna was preceded in death by her parents, one sister, Oriska Hover and two brothers, Duane and Oscar, Jr. Westgard.

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