March 5, 1944 — November 7, 2023
Vernene Lee Krein (Haskett) passed away surrounded by family on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023, in American Falls, ID.
Vernene was born to Ruby Mae (nee Butler) and Vernon Lyle Wing on March 5, 1944, in Idaho Falls, ID, the second of two children. An Idaho Falls resident throughout most of her first 32 years, she graduated from Idaho Falls High School in 1962 after earning honor roll-level grades while maintaining a part-time job from the age of 13.
Vernene married Raymond Charles “Pete” Russell in Idaho Falls on March 16, 1962. Four daughters were born to that union: Alaina, Robyn, Apryl, and Alair. Nine years her senior, Pete had already established distinguished college and business careers, and he lovingly encouraged Vernene when she expressed a desire to earn a college degree and to pursue her love of writing and literature.
With financial backing from local businessmen Cliff Barboka and Leo Higham, Vernene and Pete established the Idaho Falls-based weekly newspaper East Idaho Times in 1973. Vernene lent her creative talents to ad design and layout for newspaper clients; perhaps more importantly to her, she was asked to write a column. She was thrilled to see her name in print each week.
Pete passed away on Feb. 21, 1975, and Vernene married Wilbur Raymond Krein in Las Vegas on July 18, 1975. She and her daughters were greatly blessed by their union. Prior to their marriage, Wilbur had been a widower; his daughters Kelly and Jamie were lovingly added to the fold. To Vernene and Wilbur’s family of six daughters, they were blessed with a son, Kryst, on June 28, 1977.
Vernene was a lifelong learner, earning a B.A. in English in 1987 and an M.A. in English in 1991 from Idaho State University. Like Pete before him, Wilbur was a solid supporter of Vernene’s academic pursuits, and he ensured she was able to achieve those goals.
Vernene’s deep interest in and respect for people and their various cultures was evident in many ways, not the least of which was her thesis publication The Russian-Germans of the American Falls Area: An Ethnic Insight. Thoughtfully written, the document is a fine example of her desire and ability to understand and learn more, and to comprehend the why.
To further support her interest in other cultures, Wilbur wholeheartedly supported her travel to over 33 countries, and he almost always accompanied her. Those travel experiences helped expand her worldview, and she happily shared her insights with others.
Vernene and Wilbur had been married for 33 years when he passed away on Dec. 3, 2008. Almost two years later, Vernene married Mayo Parley Haskett on July 28, 2010. Mayo was a kind and cheerful man, and Vernene’s family loved him as one of their own. Vernene and Mayo were the best sort of friends: talking together for hours, traveling to several states and countries, and comfortable in one another’s company. Mayo passed away on Aug. 22, 2019.
Vernene was a very generous woman. She believed in helping others, not just financially but also through the donation of her exceptional talents and time. Her community involvement roles were too numerous to list in their entirety but include PTA president, Young Women’s president, Primary president, precinct committeewoman for Power County, Power County financial chairman for Senator Jim McClure and, later, for Senator Steve Symms, community education teacher for District 381, March of Dimes Chairman for Bonneville County, and Junior Miss director for Power County.
Vernene lived life most abundantly, continuing to research history, cultures, and religion long after her formal academic goals were completed. She willingly shared her knowledge with those around her. A born teacher who understood her topic thoroughly, she made the hard-to-learn easy, often creating visual charts that clearly explained seemingly convoluted genealogies and travels of ancient peoples.
Vernene was a published poet. And in January of 2022 as she reflected on a life well-lived, she wrote poignantly and with a bit of her trademark cheekiness:
My spark is waning,
I cannot deny…
Looking in the mirror
as I pass by.
Whose hands are these
so wrinkled with spots,
and a back that sports knots?
My brain has slowed and
cannot give to my lips
quick answers once known,
no more clever quips.
Gravity has had its way with me!
I need a magnifying glass to see!
But five creations I have made wherein souls may dwell,
And I’ve seen many countries of which I can tell.
Carving on the stick of childhood,
teaching the brotherhood of man,
I’ve strived to accomplish
the Best that I can.
Vernene is preceded in death by her parents, three husbands, brother Lawrence “Larry” Elg, grandson William Jordan Harmon, granddaughter Jyllian Hunt, and great-grandson Daxton Hank Finch. She is survived by her children Kelly Woodworth of American Falls; Jamie Turnbull of Forest Grove, OR; Alaina (Brian) Russell-Rast of American Falls; Robyn (Kirk) Adkins of American Falls; Apryl Hunt of Modesto; Alair (Russell) Palmer of Aberdeen; and Kryst (Melissa) Krein of American Falls; her sister Mary (Randy) Jackman of Farmington; and many cherished grandchildren and great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.
We, her family, will miss the excellent example she demonstrated for us in so many ways.
Funeral services were held on Saturday, Nov. 11, at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 650 Pocatello Avenue, in American Falls. Visitation was from 9 to 9:45 a.m. The funeral started at 10 a.m. with burial at the Neeley Cemetery. Online condolences may be sent to https://www.davisrosemortuary.com/obituaries/vernene-krein.
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