Vernon Ray Stork was born August 2, 1934, in New Hartford Iowa to John and Dena Stork (nee. Klunder). He was an extraordinary man who saw himself as the most ordinary person. After he graduated from High School, he joined the Army.
He became a devout Christian in the early 1960’s and spent quite a bit of time working with the Navigator ministry organization in addition to his local church activity. There were bible studies at the house in Ozark usually attended by Army student pilots and other young adults in the community.
He fell in love with Aviation while in the Army, and after he was discharged worked for a couple of aircraft companies before joining the Army Aviation Test Board at Cairns Army Airfield in Fort Rucker as a civilian. His son, James Douglas, was born in 1957 and a daughter, Lori Ann, was born in 1961. In 1974 he accepted a job in managing a foreign military sales case for Bell helicopters in Tehran, Iran. In 1976 the family moved to Huntsville, Alabama where he had accepted a job in the HAWK Missile project office. He was later promoted to a position in the PATRIOT Project Office where he eventually became the Chief of the PATRIOT International office.
He absolutely loved to travel so foreign military sales was a perfect fit for him. He kept his hand in general aviation, maintaining flight instructor and flight mechanics licenses well into his eighties.
He married Karen Stevenson in June 1991 in Huntsville Alabama. He continued his ministry after retiring from civil service work, forming a nonprofit company, Here Am I, Send Me Inc. and making dozens of trips to Nicaragua to teach new pastors the seven laws of the learners and build churches in that country. Once age and health issues made travel to Nicaragua too difficult, he joined the prison ministry team at Church of the Highlands as one of the earliest team members and has said many times this is his most rewarding ministry.
He was a natural born mechanic and engineer and a mentor. He drew plans and built a garage building in the backyard in the early 1970s to store an airplane; then he built the airplane in the building. He could repair aircraft, farm equipment and cars and at one point designed and installed lawn sprinkler systems in his spare time. He was an encourager and a mentor to many people in his career, as a flight instructor and in his ministry. He was funny and known for his one-line humor, he loved to tease people. May his memory be eternal.
There will be a graveside service Saturday, July 23, 2022 at 11:00 a.m. at Harvey Cemetery, County Road 53, Rogersville, AL with military honors. A Celebration of Life will also be held on Tuesday, July 26th at 11:00 a.m. at Legacy Chapel Funeral Home, 16 Hughes Road, Madison, AL.
In lieu of flowers please make donations to Church of the Highlands Correctional Ministry, 3660 Grandview Pkwy, Birmingham, AL 35243.