LaVerne William Root

Nov. 5, 2015

LaVerne William Root (BS ’59, MECH EGR, MS ’60, APPLIED MECH) of Ludington, Mich., died Nov. 1 at his home. He was 80.

Root, who was known as Vern, was born on April 3, 1935, in Charlotte, Mich., the son of the late Claud W. and Jessamine B. (Shaffer) Root. 

He graduated valedictorian of his high school in Central Lake, Mich. He attended Michigan State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1959 and a master’s degree in applied mechanics in 1960.

He married Hester Ann Ray, his loving wife of 55 years, on Dec. 12, 1959, at the Judson Memorial Baptist Church in Lansing. 

He began his career as an engineer at Collins Radio in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, where he worked on the Mercury and Gemini space programs. The couple began their family in Iowa: Anita Sue, Wendy Cathleen, David Earl, Michael Eric, and Amy Dawn. The family moved to Whispering Pines Farm in Mason County, where they would spend the next 45 years.

Root spent several years working as an engineer at Jackson Vibrators, and with his wife, operated Root’s Farm Store from the old Lidke’s feed mill at King’s Corners in Mason County. They would continue in feed and farm supply sales, as well as pet sales and supplies, at Root’s Country Connection in Ludington and Manistee.

During the time he was running his business and raising his family, he also found time to serve the youth of Mason County and his many interests: genealogy, gardening, computers, photography, and most of all his grandchildren.

He is survived by his wife Hester; his children and their spouses; and his grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews. 

Memorial services were Friday, Nov. 6, at Heritage Baptist Church, 655 E. Parkdale Ave., Manistee.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be directed to Hester Root, 2483 W. Beyer Road, Ludington, 49431 to help fund a scholarship to benefit local 4-H youth or to Hospice of Michigan, 5177 W. US 10, Suite 2, Ludington MI 49431.

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