On June 12, 2013, the gates of Heaven opened wide to welcome the Gentle Giant, Wesley Earl Verner, known as “Big Wes.” He passed away at home with family and friends by his side.
Born March 2, 1948, he proudly boasted he was a Texas Independence baby. On Oct. 21, 1978, he married Rose Marie — he often referred to her as his very own Yellow Rose of Texas. He was Texas proud!
From 1968 to 1971 he attended Angelo State on an athletic scholarship and earned a degree in physical education with a minor in English. He coached basketball, baseball, football, track and golf in El Dorado for two years. He taught golf before he ever played the game, and then he continued to play for 41 years. He joined Cedar Creek Country Club in 1980. He served as MGA president from 2004 to 2012. His Ram teammates became a true brotherhood, and they still gather yearly in San Saba to reconnect and relive past victories, and even the losses. Their coach, Phil George, joins them and has stated this team of men was like no other he ever coached — a true brotherhood.
Wesley was baptized at the age of 39. He became an active member of First Baptist Church in Dallas. Not much of a singer, he found a way to join Rose Marie as a vital part of the Sanctuary Choir. He will best be remembered as the “Gold King” in numerous Easter and Christmas pageants.
In 1989 he was asked to play the role of Simon Peter in the Easter Pageant performed at the Dallas Apparel Mart. With much coaching he learned his lines and role as the Galilean fisherman … though it was with a West Texas accent.
In 2004 Wes suffered a stroke. He worked hard to regain all that the stroke took from him. In 2010 he suffered a heart attack and even managed a fair recovery from that. In June 2012 he received his final challenge — cancer. He fought the good fight for many months; but when the medications had no effect on the cancer, he chose quality of life over quantity of life and stopped all treatment. He enrolled in hospice in December 2012 and chose VNA Kaufman as his final caregivers. This organization helped him live every day with dignity and courage and cheered him on has he set about completing his “bucket list.” He was pain-free to the very end. As he prepared to sleep in the hospice bed for the first night, he and Rose Marie discussed that this is not the bed he would die in — this was the bed he would go to Heaven from.
Survivors include his wife of 34 years, Rose Marie Verner; Mya, his four-legged daughter; his father and wife, John and Shirley Verner of Cumby; four brothers and their wives, Ray and Pat Verner of Broken Arrow, Okla., Randy and Nan Verner of Mt. Pleasant, Gary and Donna Verner of Rowlett and John and Michelle Verner of Sulphur Springs; four sisters and their husbands, Melinda and Steve Manley of Cumby, Virginia and Gary Hurse of Lovington, N.M., Debbie and Gary Nichols of Ladonia, and Nancy and Robert Lake of Greenville; one aunt, Rebecca Hester of Ladonia; nine nieces; 14 nephews; numerous great-nieces, great-nephews and cousins; and many longtime friends.
Preceding him in death were his mother, Virginia Ruth Bartley Verner of Ladonia; grandparents E.E. and Virgie Bartley and Carl and Leona Verner of Ladonia; and his four-legged children, Fannie Mae, June Bug, Bubba, Texanna and Amigo.
It was shared at his mother’s funeral in 2004 that out of nine children, her favorite child was the one she was with — presently Wesley is that favorite child as he is in Heaven with her.
Wes willed his body to the Willed Body Program at Southwestern Medical School. His ashes will interred at Providence Cemetery, Farm Road 1550 in Bartley-Woods, Texas, Thursday, Nov. 28, at 4 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, Wes requested contributions be made to the hospice care at VNA Kaufman, 102 West Grove, Kaufman, Texas 75142.
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