Vernon LeRoy Mathison passed away July 11, 2019, at Vineyard Hills In Templeton, Calif. He was born on July 26, 1929, in Gilroy, Calif., and came to Paso Robles in 1949 as Assistant Manager of the Purity grocery chain.
There he met the love of his life, Ellen Lundgren who was the daughter of Esther and Eric Lundgren, a local gunsmith. They married in 1950 and lived briefly in Santa Cruz. They moved back to Gilroy for a short time and on Oct. 1, 1953, Vern accepted an open position on the Paso Robles Police Department. He was with the department for 31 years when he eventually retired. Serving the last 14 years as Police Chief.
One of Vern’s most satisfying accomplishments while being police chief, was the implementation of the K-9 patrol. Great support from the community raised enough money to receive two dogs.
Vern belonged to numerous organizations such as the National Guard, Rotary Club, Camp Fire Girls board, assisted numerous boy scouts in obtaining their merit badges and served on the Youth Guidance Council for many years. He became a Mason, with the encouragement of his dear friend and mentor, Dr. Gifford Sobey, serving as master in 1958 and 1959 and was a Shriner for many years.
After he retired in 1984, he and Ellen, who took a couple more years to retire from Bickell’s Stationery, held an annual open house for 16 years where they sold their own craft wares and woodworking. They also enjoyed traveling around the U.S and abroad.
Vern is survived by his wife of 69 years, daughters Karen (Craig) Rossier of Paso Robles, Joan (Mark) Powell of Kona, Hawaii, granddaughters Michelle (Stephen) Ryan of American Canyon, Natalie (Cody) Collins of San Luis Obispo, great-grandchildren Caela and Madison Ryan, Madyson, Ethan, Isabelle and baby girl Collins (due in November), and two sisters-in-law, Doris Lundgren (Bothel, Wash.), Laverne Mathison (Gilroy) and brother-in-law Leon Girdner of Arizona, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
While quietly helping behind the scenes with various local activities over the years, many people in the community have described Vern as a pillar of the community.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests any donations can be made to Shriners Hospital or Salvation Army.