Date of Birth
Date of Death
Vernen Joseph Faber (1920-2008)Vernen Joseph Faber, 87, passed away peacefully early Wednesday morning, April 16, in Marquette, Michigan after a brief battle with pneumonia. He was born on July 7, 1920 in Barrington, Illinois to his farming parents, and he grew up in the farming community of Burlington, Illinois. He was preceded in death by his wife of 52 years, Hermine Margaret Feldmann Faber in 2001, age 77; his father Joseph William Faber in 1981, age 85; his mother Anna Marie Nelson Faber in 1986, age 85; his father-in-law William Janssen Feldmann in 1975, age 82; and his mother-in-law Hima Johanna Feldmann in 1979, age 87. He was also preceded in death by a sister-in-law Louise Meta Feldmann Siemens (Abraham) in 1985, and two brothers-in-law: Herman Richard Feldmann (Marjorie Feldmann Carlson) in 2000, and William Herman Feldmann (Carolina) in 2003. Vernen married Hermine M. Feldmann on January 22, 1949 at the Zion Methodist Church in Elgin, Illinois, and they became a dairy farming couple and lived and worked together on the Faber family farm in the Burlington area throughout their married lives. They have three children: David of Winston-Salem, North Carolina where he has been Professor of Art at Wake Forest University for 24 years; Margaret Faber Lundgren (Timothy) of Turner, Oregon where she and Tim have resided for 34 years. Margaret and Tim are the parents of Jerimiah (Carrie) Lundgren and Toran (Lucas) Schmidgall. Margaret is a Bible Study Leader, and horse woman of many interests, and Tim is a Finish Contractor; and Kathleen Faber Johnson (Daniel) of Carlshend, Michigan where she and Dan have lived for 35 years, Kathy and Dan are the parents of Heidi (Chris) Bray and Sarah (Dean) Jacques. Kathy is the cashier in the food service department for the local school system, and she is also a water aerobics instructor. Her husband Dan is a retired school teacher. Along with his three children and two sons-in-law, Vernen is survived by his brother, Dwight Anton Faber and his wife (sister-in-law) Jeanette of Burlington; the Reverend John Gerhard Feldmann and his wife (sister-in-law) Dr. Beverly (MD) of Elgin; sister-in-law Carolina Suhr Feldmann (William) of Bowen, Illinois; sister-in-law Marjorie Feldmann Carlson (Herman) of Belvidere, Illinois, and brother-in-law RADM Abe Harold Siemens, USCG, Ret., and Ova Jean Siemens (Louise) of Whispering Pines, North Carolina. Along with his four grandchildren, he is survived by six great-grand children and twenty-five nieces and nephews. Vernen was a generous neighbor and a true farmer-friend to everyone who knew him. He was a life-long member of The Lily Lake Evangelical Covenant Church where he was confirmed and where he accepted Jesus Christ as his Savior when he was a teenager. During his adult years he served the Lord as a devoted member on various church boards, and as deacon, treasurer, secretary, vice chairman, chairman, and he also served on various church building committees during times of remodeling and expansion. Also, of particular note, he was married to Hermine the Church Organist of 47 years who kept her home like a concert hall, being filled with Christian music for her family to grow up with. Vernen enjoyed telling a story from their early courtship when they were attending an outside Youth for Christ meeting on a summer evening in Elgin, and Hermine was the organist operating a manual pump organ in a large tent that was illuminated by overhead lights powered by extension cords. A thunderstorm arose and the power went out during the singing of a hymn. As everything went black, Hermine kept right on playing and the congregation sang on through the storm. Vernen remarked about how much this impressed him—that she would keep playing inviting the people to keep on singing when another organist might have quit and run for cover! His membership in The Northern Illinois Steam Power Club goes back to the Club’s inception in 1957. He loved the steam power world, and especially steam engines, separators, and the threshing bees of yesteryear. His devotion to the annual threshing bees on the Taylor Marshall Farm near Sycamore, Illinois, was exemplary. And because he didn’t want us to forget, he held and promoted a deep appreciation for keeping modern day America in touch with the farming methods of the past. To him, as to thousands of others, the annual threshing bees were a place where America could take pause to remember, learn about the past, and not forget it. He simply loved to reflect upon and talk about the old days of farming—and he did so with an ironclad memory for detail that amazed all who listened to him. He could recall serial numbers of certain tractor models and tell you between what years a particular model was produced. He loved to read his tractor books and over the years accumulated a marvelous library of tractor and implement textbooks, company histories, Iron-Men magazines, and dealer catalogues that he read and reread especially in his retirement years when he had more time to pour over the pages. It seemed that he couldn’t get enough of the memories that his keen mind triggered, and he would regale us with the stories of the "threshing rings" that went from farm to farm until every farmer’s grain was threshed and stored in the graineries for the coming winter. His children remember well the earliest meetings of the Northern Illinois Steam Power Club that were held in DeKalb in 1957, and it was through Vernen’s early membership with the Steam Power Club that his wife and children witnessed one of his deepest passions—that of steam engines and tractors. Some of his favorite tractor and implement personalities and icons were McCormick Deering, International Harvester, Farmall, John Deere, and J. I. Case. He often told the story of how in 1837 John Deere (1804-1886) designed the first cast steel plow that greatly assisted the prairie farmers. As a young Blacksmith from New England, Deere had visited a nearby sawmill and found a large, round but broken saw blade that had been cast aside. He asked if he could have it and took it back to his shop and hammered the broken disc-shaped blade into the first moldboard plow shovel. This steel plow, when put down into the Midwestern soils, scoured perfectly and became self-polishing in spite of the varied sticky soils found in the vast Great Plains. The previous wooden and other types of plow blades failed to run cleanly through the soil and would clog leaving mounds of surface debris over the surfaces of the fields. Vernen loved these pinnacle moments of discovery and invention where agriculture history and the once established farming methods were forever revolutionized. And by 1855, John Deere’s factory was selling over 10,000 steel plows a year. Vernen, and his younger brother Dwight, operated adjacent dairy farms and always worked together in the fields from spring planting, cultivating, baling hay, and on through the rest of the harvesting seasons. Vernen loved the Farmalls and Dwight loved the John Deere tractors, and for many years they engraved the land while plowing in the same fields together leaving a recurring and vanishing poetic presence of red and green, and red and green as the Farmall "400" and the John Deere "A", with their three-bottom plows, followed each other from headland to headland until the patina of last year’s crop had been turned over. Yet, though Vernen had his Farmall favorites, his interests were never limited to just one model or make of any tractor or implement. In fact, as often farmers will take a purest and strongly biased view of the tractor makes and models they prefer, Vernen was a kind of Renaissance farmer who it could well be said of, "There was never a tractor he didn’t like." Vernen’s son David, Professor of Art at Wake Forest University, and author of the drawing textbook titled, "A Guide to Drawing" dedicated his sixth edition of the book to his father and mother by writing, "To my father Vernen, a gentle-hearted guardian of the land, who taught me how to draw a black line across a textured field with a plow—and in memory of my mother Hermine, a musician of sacred song, who taught me the difference between the solo and the accompaniment in life." David adds, "By example of their own lives together, Dad and Mom taught Margaret, Kathy, and me how to love Jesus first, and then how to live in that love toward each other and toward our fellow man. We will miss you Dad, just as we have missed Mom. Yet we are not orphans because we look forward with the greatest joy to being in the presence of Jesus with you and Mom and all our loved ones one day soon . . . ‘and so shall we ever be with the Lord’, First Thessalonians 4:17. Thank you for all that you gave us; and thank you for all that you taught us! You have been our inner compass . . . , and because of you and Mom, we too are headed toward Heaven! We love you!"David, Margaret, and Kathy
Visitation will be held Monday, April 21, 2008 from 4-8pm at Conley Funeral Home, 116 W. Pierce St. Elburn, IL. Funeral services will follow Tuesday morning at 11am at the Country Covenant Church, Rt.47 and McDonald Road. A brief period of visitation will precede the service from 10am until 10:45am.
Committal services will conclude at the Hampshire Cemetery, Harmony road.