Vernon Dale Pearson
Vernon Dale Pearson, a retired manufacturer, died in his sleep at his home in La Jolla, Calif., April 5, 2018.
He was born Sept. 1, 1924, on a farm near Kewanee. He graduated from Wethersfield High School in Kewanee. For one year he served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.
Vernon began manufacturing by himself in 1955 on his parents’ farm. He developed and manufactured the original electric hay bale conveyor and sold 150 of them to the farmers.
His salesman brother, Leland, convinced Vernon the two of them should start a company to make other metal products. Vernon and Leland formed a partnership in 1959 to make and sell steel products. They called it Pearson Brothers.
The partnership began on their parents’ farm and then moved to a new large site in 1963 in Galva. Most of the buildings and machines were constructed by Vernon and factory personnel.
Vernon was the main designer and equipment buyer, even after the company began dealing with international markets and expanded its product lines. He also hired the company personnel and supervised the factory workers. Leland mostly managed sales efforts.
Over the years, Vernon helped four entrepreneurs get started in their businesses and they have grown and prospered. They told him he was their mentor. Vernon enjoyed working with people and loved to tell jokes.
Vernon married Eileen Erickson in 1970. She had been a high school United States government and American history teacher before he married her.
In 1976, Vernon sold his half of the company and moved to La Jolla, Calif. While living in La Jolla, he did industrial consulting in the United States and built industrial machines.
He learned to pilot a Cessna airplane that the company purchased. Vernon sold it when he moved to La Jolla.
Vernon drove his 1965 Lincoln convertible in Fourth of July parades in Coronado, Calif., and the La Jolla Christmas parades for 20 years. Dignitaries rode in the back seat. He was a member of the Lincoln Continental Owners Club, Antique Automobile Club of America and House of Sweden in San Diego, Calif.
Vernon is survived by his wife Eileen, nieces and nephews.