Cover photo for Vernon D. Esch's Obituary
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1941 Vernon 2023

Vernon D. Esch

April 15, 1941 — October 27, 2023

Vernon “Vern” D. Esch, age 82, of Indianola, NE passed away at Community Hospital in McCook, NE on October 27, 2023. He was born in McCook, on April 15, 1941 to Walter and Rose (Breitling) Esch. Vern was baptized and confirmed at St. John Lutheran Church (Ash Creek), rural McCook, where he was a lifetime member. He very much enjoyed gospel music and sang in the church choir for over 60 years. He attended parochial school through the 8th grade at Ash Creek, then attended Red Willow High School graduating in 1959.

On April 15, 1962 (yes, his birthday), he was united in marriage to Sara Doyle at St. John Lutheran Church (Ash Creek). Vern and Sara started their married life on a farm in the Ash Creek community. In March of 1969, they moved into their newly built home just north of Red Willow, where Vern started his new endeavor; Vern’s Welding Shop. In 1980, Vern got back into the world of farming, taking over the Doyle family farm upon the retirement of his father-in-law, Robert (Bob) Doyle.

During Vern’s retirement years, he spent countless hours making rocking horses which he gave away to many families throughout the region. We are uncertain of the total number that he made, but we know it was more than 250. He also spent countless hours building farm equipment to Pedal Tractor scale.

Sports and youth played a major role in Vern’s life. He pitched fastpitch softball for numerous years, playing softball into his 50’s. He was a proud high school supporter, attending hundreds of football, volleyball, basketball, track and field, baseball, and softball games over the years. Vern’s enthusiasm for sports and kids led him and Sara to establish Red Willow Diamonds, two youth baseball/softball fields that are used for practice by area travel teams, in 2011. Vern thoroughly enjoyed seeing kids and teams practice their skills at the fields.

In 2008, Vern’s 1958/1959 Red Willow Zephyrs High School sports teams in football, basketball, and track & field were inducted into the Nebraska High School Hall of Fame, Each of these teams won state championships during that school year. Vern was quite proud of this achievement.

Vern was a member of the Nebraska National Guard from 1959-1965, where his primary duty was a cook. Even though Vern often bragged about his cooking duties, his family never actually witnessed those skills being put to use!

He was preceded in death by his son, Christopher, parents, Walter and Rose, stepmother, Emma, father-in-law and mother-in-law, Robert and Emma Mae Doyle, brother, Harold, sister-in-law, Melva, and sister Dorothy.

Vern is survived by his wife of 61 years, Sara: sons Brian (Mary) Esch of McCook, Darren (Tyler) Esch of Indianola, and Gene (Leigh Ann) Esch of West Simsbury, CT; grandchildren: Marisa (Trevor) Hoins, Brady Esch, Hailey (Ryan) Steider, Hannah (Kasey) Taylor, Mackenzie (Skyler) Kalinski, Helana & Archer Esch, Devon & Whitney Davis; great grandchildren: Aiden & Emma Steider, Kaysen Taylor, Jaxx, Gracelynn, & Beauden Kalinski, and baby Hoins in early 2024.

Visitation will be on Wednesday, November 1, 2023 from 5:00-7:00 PM at Carpenter Breland Funeral Home in McCook. Family will be present to greet friends.

Funeral services will be held on Thursday, November 2, 2023 at 10:30 AM at St. John Lutheran Church (Ash Creek), rural McCook with Pastor Lonnie Felcher officiating. Burial will be in the Memorial Park Cemetery in McCook.

Memorials contributions in lieu of flowers may be given in Vern’s name to be designated for youth programs.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Vernon D. Esch, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation with Family Present to Greet Friends

Wednesday, November 1, 2023

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Carpenter Breland Funeral Home

305 West C Street, McCook, NE 69001

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Thursday, November 2, 2023

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

St. John's Lutheran Church-Ash Creek

39097 Road 712, McCook, NE 69001

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


Thursday, November 2, 2023

Memorial Park Cemetery

, McCook, NE 69001

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