Dishman, Lavern E. Ann Arbor, MI

Age 86, died at home on December 31, 2009 after a long illness. Born April 3, 1923 in Petersburg, Nebraska, he was the third of six children born to Archie Leo and Elva (Krull) Dishman. Known to all in Petersburg by the boyhood nickname of "Toots," Vern began caring for his father's horses and Shetland ponies at a very young age. He learned to drive when he was only ten years of age and he could frequently be found driving his father's cattle trucks down the main streets of Petersburg when he was still in elementary school. Vern grew up in rural northern Nebraska during the "Dirty Thirties." This period was marked by a major economic downturn, recurring droughts and dust storms and a devastating grasshopper plague. In 1936 these difficult conditions caused his family to leave Nebraska and move back to Missouri, where the family originally came from. During his high school days Vern worked on local farms often times as a muleskinner. He attended Helena high school where he excelled in basketball despite his short stature. He graduated in 1941. After high school he moved to Ann Arbor. When World War II broke out, he began working in the parts department of The Willow Run Bomber Plant. Subsequently he enlisted in United States Army Air Corps and began his service on April 7, 1943. He was honorably discharged on July 8, 1943 for medical reasons. After his short stint in the service Vern returned to Ann Arbor where by chance he met Evelyn "Dickie" Dishman, a Petersburg girl, who had coincidentally moved to Ann Arbor as well. They were married at St. Thomas the Apostle Church on January 6, 1945 and enjoyed 62 loving years together as husband and wife. In the late 1940's Vern began working as a foreman for the Dad's Root Beer Company. In 1952 he was hired as an elevator mechanic by the Otis Elevator Company. While working for Otis, he served as a business agent for the International Union of Elevator Constructors Local 85. After 37 years of service he retired from Otis in 1989. Vern was known as the "Mr. Fix-It" of Pontiac Trail. People came far and wide to seek counsel on how to repair all manner of mechanical devices. He usually performed repairs for free or for a nominal charge. He never turned anyone away. Vern was also an avid collector of Corvair cars and parts. Townies unofficially dubbed him "The Corvair King of Ann Arbor." Vern is survived by five devoted children; Larry (Donna) Dishman, Richard (Randy) Dishman, Debbie (Harry) Dishman, Cindy (Bruce) Dishman, and Thomas (JoAnna) Dishman. He also leaves behind nine grand children to celebrate his life and cherish his memory: Megan, Ryan, Benjamin, Nicholas, Katie, Bethany, Graham, Casey, and Conor. They all bear the Dishman surname. Lastly Vern is survived by his sister Helen (Gene) McAfee of St. Joseph, Missouri and a number of nieces and nephews. Vern was preceded in death by his parents; beloved wife, Evelyn "Dickie" Dishman; his brothers Quentin "Bus" Dishman and Jerry Dishman; and his sisters, Dorothy "Dot" Smith and Virginia Hubbard. The visitation will be held from 4 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Thursday, January 7 at Muehlig's Funeral Chapel, 403 S. Fourth Ave, with the rosary at 7 p.m. The mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, January 8 at St. Thomas the Apostle Church 530 Elizabeth St. Memorial. Contributions in Vern's Memory can be made to the Silver Club Programs, 2401 Plymouth Rd., Ste C, Ann Arbor , MI 48105 or Fr. Gabriel Richard High School Baseball Program, 4333 Whitehall, Ann Arbor, MI 48105.