Vernon Ray Kaul was born on July 25th 1948 in Tyndall, SD to Rueben and Mae (Mattis) Kaul. Vern and his older sister Betty attended Smith Country School through the 8th grade. Vern graduated from Tyndall High School in 1966. After graduation, Vern continued to work alongside his dad on the family farm northwest of Tyndall. Vern enjoyed the farm life raising crops, cattle, hogs and milking cows (though cantankerous they were).
Vern married his high school sweetheart Donna Mae Schneider on April 18th 1970 at the Friedens Reformed Church in Tripp, SD. Vern went on to farm north of Tyndall while Donna worked at Security State Bank. After nearly 40 years of farming, Vern and Donna moved to Springfield in 2005. In 2002 Vern and Donna opened Kaul’s Ag & Auto Inc. where Vern worked alongside sons Billy and Dean, repairing farm equipment, cars, trucks and lawn equipment. He enjoyed working on all sorts of projects both big and small however his welding jobs were always his favorite.
Vern’s love of music started when he taught himself how to play guitar in high school. Along with a few of his friends they would practice on Sunday afternoons learning rock & roll songs. Vern later went on to play with the Meltones with Mel Winckler and Gary Gibson. He then taught Billy (9) how to play guitar and Dean (5) drums and the East River Cowboys were born. Vern and the boys would go on to play parties, weddings and clubs for the next 25 years with Danny (11) joining in 1992. The East River Cowboys played a mix of Vern’s favorite country and western music along with the 50s and 60s rock and roll he grew up listening to.
After the boys went their separate ways, Vern continued to play shows at local Good Samaritan homes, the Senior Citizen’s Center and Assisted Livings along with many other special events. When Vern wasn’t making music, you could find him on the Springfield Golf Course. He religiously would play two rounds a day almost every day in all sorts of weather. At last count Vern had golfed 300 rounds in 2021 alone and had plans for many more. He especially enjoyed golfing with his grandkids and his late cousin Terry Kaul. Vern also loved watching all his grandkids participate in all sorts of events from sports like baseball, football, volleyball and wrestling to fine arts like drama and music.
Vernon Ray Kaul died at the age of 73 on December 14th 2021 at St. Michaels Hospital in Tyndall SD.
He is survived by his wife of 51 years Donna; three sons, Billy (Michelle) of Springfield, Dean (Nicole) of Tyndall, Danny (Julie) of Olathe, KS and daughter Vicki (Mike) Sonne of Watertown; ten grandchildren, Austin, Tyler and Jackson Kaul, Memphis, Wesley, Trey and Olivia Kaul, Alexandra and Megan Kaul and James Sonne and one brother-in-law Alan Palsma.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Rueben and Mae and sister, Betty Palsma.
Floral Tributes are included at the end of the Funeral Program.