Vernon A. “Vern” Botz, age 80 of Sauk Centre, passed away peacefully, surrounded by his family on Friday, March 8, 2019 at the CentraCare Health Hospital in Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, March 13 at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Sauk Centre with Rev. Greg Paffel officiating. Interment will be in the parish cemetery with military honors provided by the Sauk Centre United Veterans Honor Guard.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday and from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Patton-Schad Funeral Home in Sauk Centre. Parish prayers will be at 4 p.m. followed by the Knights of Columbus and the Divine Mercy Devotion at 7 p.m. Tuesday evening at the funeral home.
Vernon Alexander Botz was born July 4, 1938 in Getty Township, Stearns County, Minnesota to Herbert and Angeline (Beste) Botz. He attended country school and then Sauk Centre High School, graduating in 1956. Vern enlisted in the Minnesota National Guard where he was a cook. He was honorably discharged after his six years of service with a rank of Spc. 5.
He farmed the Botz Century farm from 1956 through 1978. On October 2, 1962 he was united in marriage to Kathleen Dierkhising at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Sauk Centre. Vern was a cropland measurer for the Stearns County ASCS farm program, served as secretary of the Farmers Union Local Chapter in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, and was a part time Farmers Union Insurance Agent. He was a member of the Sauk Centre Racing Association Board and a pit crew member of Car #22 at the Stearns County Fairgrounds of the 1960’s and 1970’s and became a volunteer EMT for the Racing Association. Vern served as secretary of the Stearns County Fair from 1972 through 1977. In December of 1980, he became the graveyard cook at Trucker’s Inn until becoming Assistant Manager in October of 1990 through September of 2013.
Vern was a devoted and active lifetime member of St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Sauk Centre. He taught Religious Education for five years and was an Extraordinary Communion Minister for twelve years. Vern was one of the four men who started the Divine Mercy Devotion in Sauk Centre in 1982 and promoted the devotion until present. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus and held most offices of the organization along with being a District Deputy and on the First-Degree Team. Vern was still active as a member of NODA (No One Dies Alone) program and the Divine Mercy Devotion.
Music was very important in Vern’s life. He was a guitar player of New Life Singers for thirty years, and also taught guitar lessons. Vern played at St. Michael’s Nursing Home and the Osakis Nursing home for the residents there. He played for weekend Masses at St. Paul’s Catholic Church and played for Koinonia Retreats, Television Masses, funerals, and weddings.
Survivors include his loving wife of 56 years, Kathy Botz of Sauk Centre; children, Vincent (Bernette) Botz of St. Cloud, Steven (Sharon) Botz of St. Cloud, Gregory Botz of Alexandria, Kenneth (Katherine) Botz of Rogers, Texas, Robert Botz of Sauk Centre, and Sandra (Gary) Felling of Elrosa; 11 grandchildren; sister, Elizabeth Geisenhof of Long Prairie; and many loving relatives and friends.
Vern was preceded in death by his parents; brothers-in-law, Steven Geisenhof and Raymond “Ray” Dierkhising; and father-in-law, Tony Dierkhising.
In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to the Divine Mercy Devotion or St. Paul’s Catholic Church.