Vernon Dewayne Sprock, 92, of Bozeman, Montana passed away on Monday, February 10, 2014.
Vernon was born on September 3, 1921 in Elk Grove, CA to Hiejo Henry and Bertha (Stubel) Sprock.
Vern grew up on a farm in Elk Grove, CA. Following Vern’s graduation from Elk Grove High School, he continued to work on the family farm. While doing this he furthered his education in the engineering and surveying field. He was a World War II veteran and served our country in the United States Army, in the culinary department in Texas from 1942 to 1946.
After serving our country, Vern spent time with his dog as his only companion, in the Tioga Pass, CA area as a trapper of marten and bear. He sold the meat and furs from the trappings to make his living. He later relocated to Tamarack Pines in California on Highway 50. For a couple of winters he worked for the California Division of Highways now known as CalTrans. In the summer months he built log cabins, doing all the work from scratch by cutting the trees, skinning the logs, and cementing them together, along with all aspects needed for a completed cabin.
Vern met the love of his life Barbara “Bobbie” Sprock, at Strawberry Lodge on the dance floor in 1950 and they were married October 28 that same year in San Francisco, CA. Together they built a log cabin for their first home and raised rabbits to supplement their income. They were married 56 years at the time of Bobbie’s passing
Vern along with his wife Bobbie owned and operated the ski resort Sierra Ski Ranch near South Lake Tahoe, California for forty years. In 1953 Vern and Bobbie took over the financially troubled ski area, Sierra Ski Ranch. It was here that Vern gained his reputation as a hard worker, dreamer and innovator. Sierra Ski Ranch was located one mile down Highway 50 from its current location. Sierra was relocated in 1968 due to a proposed highway alignment which never happened. The first year in that location was one of many challenges due to a very heavy snowfall damaging the new lodge and lifts. However, perseverance and prayer prevailed, and the obstacles were overcome to lay the groundwork for many expansions at this new location. He was an instrumental member of the B77 Code of National Ski Safety Committee for aerial tramways. Vern and Bobbie shared a lifetime of pioneering hardship and hard work, always working together to solve each challenge. The resort was sold in 1993.
During the Sierra Ski Ranch era, Vern also made his employees and himself available along with needed heavy equipment to the U.S. Forest Service to assist with forest fire suppression within the region.
After the ski area was sold Vern then took an interest in an innovative and cutting edge pedestrian transport system called the Yantrac People Mover, where he spent much time using his background knowledge in engineering and survey.
Then Vern and Bobbie moved to Montana where they purchased and operated the V & B Ranch located near Wilsall. On their 5500 acre cattle ranch there were several other businesses operated from this property, such as guided fishing on the property, horse shoeing, and more. After the loss of Vern’s vision due to a stroke, they sold the ranch and moved to Bozeman, MT. He then took great interest in the activities and accomplishments of his grandchildren and great grandchildren. Vern enjoyed skiing, fishing, hunting and family activities. He enjoyed and attended Kirkwood Baptist Church in Bozeman.
His friends considered him a “man among men”. His family is very proud of all his accomplishments and lovingly remembers him as a strong but humble, gentle man who did everything for his family and friends. Coincidently, Vern passed away one day before his wife Bobbie, only five years later. Guess they had a date for Valentine’s Day. He will be greatly missed.
Vernon was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Barbara “Bobbie”, his sister Juanita Richardson.
Survivors include children, Kathy (Robert) Pavich, and Peter (Juli) Sprock; grandchildren, Christopher Pavich, and Ty Sprock, all of Zephyr Cove, NV, Richard Pettay and three great-grandchildren (Tyler, Jacob, Sara) of Carson City, NV; Sister Nadine Tomlinson of Sioux Falls, SD
In lieu of flowers, the Vernon Sprock Athletic Scholarship Fund has been created for the benefit of alpine skiing athletes through Far West Ski Foundation, a 501 3c non-profit organization. Checks may be made payable to:
Far West Ski Foundation
PO Box 861
Fallbrook, CA 92088
Or through PayPal at www.farwestskifoundation.org
Visitation will take place at Dahl Funeral Chapel on Wednesday, February 19, 2014 from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm. The family will be present to greet friends from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm. Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 am on Thursday, February 20, 2014 at Dahl Funeral Chapel, with interment to follow at Sunset Hills Cemetery.
Condolences to the family may be shared at www.dahlcares.com