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Ms. Ethel Maria Vernon

October 29, 1931 ~ March 1, 2024 (age 92) 92 Years Old

Ms. Ethel Vernon Obituary

Completing a life full of love and adventure, Ethel Maria Vernon joined the ancestors on March 1, 2024. Ethel was 92. We say farewell to a remarkable woman, devoted mother, grandmother, aunt, sister, and friend to many. Her final days were spent inside her cozy two-story abode in Williamsburg, Virginia, a community she chose for her retirement and had called home for more than two decades.  

Ethel savored her time in Williamsburg – she purchased this second home in 2003 and worked part-time as a tour guide with Jamestown Settlement, sharing her wealth of knowledge about history to the delight of many school children as well as tourists seeking to learn more about the famous settlement.  Ethel also was active in her church including St. John’s on Penniman Road and attended First Baptist Church of Williamsburg.

Ethel had roots in the mid-west.  A native of Cleveland, Ohio, she was born on October 29, 1931 to Edward and Dora Johnson, one of nine children the couple had. Life in Cleveland was full with extended family. Ethel was a master storyteller and could spin a yarn like no other. She would regale everyone with tales about her upbringing, her parents, their sayings and ways, her grandparents, Anna and Alex Brooks and the escapades of her siblings. If she didn’t remember something, she would just embellish details with her vivid imagination. Ethel went to Cleveland Public Schools and graduated from John Hay High School, but decided at 18 she was going to New York City to make a new life.  

She ventured there in the early 1950s, where she lived at the YWCA, made some friends and had a job at a doctor’s office. She met her husband, Leo M. Vernon on a blind date. Leo had just returned from a tour of duty in Germany following the Korean War. Both had a mutual friend who set them up. The date was amazing, which led to more dates. The two ultimately married and welcomed a daughter in 1954. Two more sons came from this union. Leo also had two children from a previous relationship, who joined them in New York.  

By the mid-1960s, Ethel and her husband purchased a home in the Bronx and welcomed another daughter. A few years later, Ethel decided she wanted to work full-time, first getting a job at a local department store, as a bank teller and then landing a gig at New York Telephone Company, later called Verizon. Ethel would stay with the utility company through retirement in 1994.  Her husband Leo died in 1983.

As a widow, Ethel traveled often. Never keen on flying, she preferred the train. Long rides out west soothed her. She visited the mid-west, Arizona and California on a few occasions, where some cousins lived and made a stop to see the towering Redwoods. Other times, she reluctantly took a plane and traveled to the Caribbean, Mexico and a few more places in California. Ethel studied at Borough Manhattan College, earning an associate’s degree in applied science. She volunteered on the David Dinkins mayoral campaign. She again worked part-time as a bank teller. She found love again and met another man, who would become her close companion for many years until he died in 2016. Ethel loved to shop, had excellent taste in furniture and home design. She loved music by Barbara Streisand, Ray Charles and Sam Cooke, among others.

Ethel was extremely plain-spoken and brutally honest. She had an infectious laugh and loved to playfully tease. She was fiercely devoted to her family and shared everything she had with her children. Her home was a sanctuary for them filed with love, laughter and a comforting presence that will be profoundly missed. As recently as two weeks ago, while on home hospice care, she said she wanted to stay here with them.  

Ethel is predeceased by her husband Leo Muncho Vernon and her son Mario Nicholas Vernon, her parents and eight siblings.

She is survived by her children, Inocencia Vernon-Brown of New York; Carlos Vernon and wife Gladys Vernon of Teaneck, New Jersey ; Lisa Vernon-Sparks of Charlotte, North Carolina and Donald E. Sparks of Leonia, New Jersey; two children from her husband Leo; Virgil Vernon and wife Christine Vernon of Baldwin; June Vernon of California; and sister Vera Coe of Cleveland, Ohio; Grandchildren: Kena Vernon Johnson and husband Matt Johnson; Monique Hope; Christopher Brown of Buffalo; Yamma Brown of New York and Collin Brown of New York and Donald Sparks, III of New Jersey. Great-grandchildren: Kayla Hope and Elijah Hope.

Ethel touched the lives of many. She leaves a legacy for scores of nieces, nephews, cousins and relatives from her native Cleveland and many friends throughout the country.

 

The  Vernon family  request that you keep them in your thoughts and prayers.  

 

The family of Ms. Ethel Maria Vernon  has entrusted her final care to C. C. Carter Funeral Home, Inc.  

 

 

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Services

Visitation
Thursday
March 14, 2024

10:00 AM to 11:00 AM
Hartnett Funeral Home
561 Jerusalem Ave,
Uniondale, NY 11553

Celebration of Life Service.
Thursday
March 14, 2024

11:00 AM
Hartnett Funeral Home
561 Jerusalem Ave,
Uniondale, NY 11553

Interment following funeral service
Thursday
March 14, 2024

Calverton National Cemetery
210 Princeton Boulevard.
Calverton, NY 11933

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