July 15, 1942 – June 12, 2023
MGen William “Brian” Vernon, CD (Retired)
Born 15 July 1942 – Windsor, ON
Died 12 June 2023 – Comox, BC
Happy are the few individuals who leave for work smiling because they’re heading to do something they love: that was our Brian. From early boyhood, he was fascinated with military history and the study of war. He went on to become a cadet lieutenant colonel in his high school corps while serving as a lance sergeant in the Essex and Kent Scottish Regiment. Brian graduated from Assumption University in Windsor where he also completed officer training in the COTC. He entered the Regular Force directly as a commissioned officer a year later.
Unlike many couples, Brian met Jill Youngson, informally, in the hospital nursery where they were born (she was six hours older). Fifteen years passed before they met again and they married in 1962. Between 1963 and 1968, they had three sons: Michael (Sherri), David (Aurelia), and Anthony (Jewon).
Brian was predeceased by his parents: John and Florence (Livingston). He leaves his sister Gail Sabitz (George) and brother Bruce (Gerry) and his grandchildren: Liam, James, and Matilda.
He began his regular service in the Black Watch and subsequently experienced a charmed career – bounding between operations and command appointments. He later served in the Canadian Airborne Regiment, and Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, all of which enabled him to see most of the world. His principled stand, publicly defending his paratrooper brothers in the early 1990s, ultimately ended his career prematurely. He retired early at age 54.
Upon retirement in 1996, Brian and Jill selected the Comox Valley as their final move. There he could focus on his love of the outdoors – he could cross-country ski, swim in the ocean ride his bike and garden (under Jill’s directions). A voracious reader, Brian never passed a library or bookstore without a significant browse.
Among various post-retirement projects, Brian spent 3 years as BC President of the Army Cadet League. His final military duty was to proudly serve as Colonel of the Regiment (PPCLI) from 2015 – 2018.
Early days in the military kept him away from home for long periods, but, when home, he worked overtime, being the best dad he could be. He rarely left the house without his “three musketeers” in tow. Little children and animals were always drawn to him. Over the years, he grew increasingly proud of the individuals the musketeers and grandchildren became.
Brian’s wishes for a party where he could say his good-byes to friends and loved ones in person were thwarted by the onset of dementia. He did not want a fuss made after his passing.
As a family, we were determined to care for him at home to the end, but, as his condition deteriorated, he needed to be in the hands of professionals. The Views at St Joseph’s became his new home where he experienced the kindest of care from the dedicated staff on the Ocean View ward. Thanks is also due to Brian’s doctor, Des Konway, for years of exemplary care.
Once cremation has taken place, the family will meet privately to share stories about Brian and, no doubt, plenty of laughter.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to the charity of your choice.
“Fair winds and soft landings, jumper.”Obituary-