Vern Engelke

Vern Englke was born and raised in Pasco WA. One of his high school jobs was a doorman at the Benton Theater in Kennewick, where he met an usherette named Sammie Bowers. They dated during their high school years and a month after Vern's graduation he and a buddy joined the U.S. Navy. While in boot camp in San Diego, they were required to attend church services. Vern saw they had a line for the Church of Christ and thought, that's the church I went to with Sammie and after a few weeks he was baptized into Christ. The navy sent Vern to Memphis, TN to a class for air craft mechanic training. ​ 

On leave, Vern asked Sammie to marry him and she said yes. After going back to San Diego, Vern found out their squadron was headed overseas for an eight month cruise on an aircraft carrier. Vern came home before leaving and he and Sammie were married before he was deployed. It was a long and difficult eight months but when he finally came home he and Sammie moved to San Diego.

Vern &

The navy then sent Vern to Key West, FL to a school on jet helicopter maintenance. It was like a six month honeymoon, warm weather, sun and the beach, except for the tropical storms. Key West, at that time, was only one mile by four miles and held four naval bases and a tiny Church of Christ.

After returning to San Diego, he was sent to a base near Poway, CA where they attended a small church that met in a house. Vern taught the teen class and claims as a new Christian, he probably learned more than the kids. 

On completing military service, they moved to Portland, OR so he could attend Columbia Christian College. Vern worked full-time for Safeway and went to school full-time. Sammie worked full-time for Jantzen. Merry was born during this time. After receiving his Associate of Arts degree they moved back to Kennewick, WA. Vern served as a deacon during this time and Linda was born. 

Vern worked for Safeway and then Battelle. Hanford had a large layoff so Vern with family went back to school at Columbia Christian. They had extended their program to a four year school. Columbia considered Oklahoma Christian University as a sister school and worked with them on accrediting Columbia's students. Vern graduated as Columbia's first four year graduate student. During this time, they attended church at Eastside and Linwood Church of Christ. Vern worked for the Tastee Freeze Company and finally bought a business, in the downtown area, which he ran for a time. Jason was born during this time.


After selling the franchise, Vern went into business on his own as a home maintenance/home repair business that he worked for several years. Their daughters were both married by this time. Their parents were getting older,, and the high school Jason was supposed to attend was one of the roughest in Portland, so they moved back home to Kennewick, WA and Jason finished his last two years at Kamiakin. Vern says, "Looking back on our life together, attending church in each place we've lived, we truly can say we love the people in Kennewick. When scripture describes life as a vapor, it truly is. It goes by so fast; don't blink. We've had some rough waters but our God has been so faithful! We learn from the rough times to hold ever more tightly to our God. He is a most loving and kind Father and can help us get through anything.

May His name ever be praised!



Clarence &
Clarence Botts