BLOOMINGTON — Vernon Paul Prenzler, 90, of Bloomington, passed away 4:28 a.m. Sunday (March 10, 2019) at Advocate BroMenn Medical Center, Normal.
His funeral will be 10 a.m. Saturday at Trinity Lutheran Church with Pastor Billy Newell officiating. Visitation will be 4 to 7 p.m. Friday at Trinity Lutheran Church, 801 S. Madison St., Bloomington, and one hour prior to the service.
Interment will be at Park Hill Cemetery, Bloomington. Memorials may be made to Trinity Lutheran Church Building Fund.
Vern was born Aug. 11, 1928, in Bloomington, the son of Walter and Alma Gerling Prenzler. He married Ruth Urquhart on Jan. 28, 1955, in Oconto, Wis. Vern and Ruth raised their three children in Bloomington until she died on May 6, 1974. He married Doris Petersen on July 4, 1983, in Fish Creek, Wis.
Surviving are his wife, Doris Prenzler, Bloomington; sons, Kurt (Rita), Edwardsville, and Erik (Terri), Bloomington; daughter, Judy, Omaha, Neb.; stepson, David (Jan) Petersen, Naples, Fla.; stepdaughter, Karen Erickson, Wheaton; and 10 grandchildren, Alexis, Anna, Christian, Edward, Roland, Ruth, Brenda, Jim, Elizabeth and Erik.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Ruth; and brother, Lyle.
Vern attended Trinity Lutheran Grade School and graduated from Bloomington High School. He graduated from Illinois Wesleyan University in 1950 and was a member of Phi Gamma Delta fraternity. His love for the Bloomington-Normal community began at a young age when he worked at the Miller Park peanut stand in grade school. During high school and college, he sold advertising for the school newspapers.
From 1950 to 1952, he served in the U.S. Army, stationed in Italy, Austria and Germany.
After his military service, he graduated from a lumber dealer short course at the University of Washington. He was a manager and later owner of Corn Belt Lumber Co., where his father preceded him as manager. In 1958, Vern discovered his true passion, developing real estate. He developed his first residential subdivision (Brightview) in Normal. During his career, he developed more than 2,000 residential lots and commercial developments, often with partners. Some of Vern's developments in the Bloomington-Normal community include North Park, Lincolnwood, Northgate, Northtown Industrial Park, Oakland Suburban Heights, Washington East, Pleasant Hills East and North, College Hills Plaza and Mall, College Hills South, Park Place, Parkshores, Lake Ridge, Old Farm Lakes and Wittenberg Woods. He named many streets in Bloomington and Normal.
Outside of his passion for business, Vern was active in his local community. In 1967, Vern worked with Harbor Hall and Tim Ives to prevent I-55 from being diverted to Peoria (the “Kerner Curve” plan), allowing for Bloomington-Normal to become a central transportation hub in Illinois. He loved to travel, especially to Europe, making friends everywhere he went and sharing stories and many photos of his adventures with family and friends.
Vern served on the Bloomington City Council from 1961 to 1965. He voted to sell the city electric plant and join Illinois Power, and to build Evergreen Lake, which became a second source of water for Bloomington. He was a member of the McLean County Board and served on the McLean County Republican Central Committee. He was a member of the Young Men's Club and was active with Bible Study Fellowship.
Vern was an active member of Trinity Lutheran Church and, for many years, St. John's Lutheran Church.
Vern was a loving husband, father, grandfather and a lifelong and active member of the community.
Condolences and memories of Vern may be shared with the family at www.kiblerbradyruestman.com.