Tombstone Tuesday–Vernon & Carmella (Bury) Heffner

Vernon & Carmella (Bury) Heffner, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

Vernon & Carmella (Bury) Heffner, Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. (2011 photo by Karen)

This is the tombstone of Vernon and Carmella (Bury) Heffner, located in row 5 of Zion Lutheran Cemetery, Chattanooga, Mercer County, Ohio. The marker is inscribed:


Vernon Hugo Heffner was born in Chattanooga on 13 August 1905 to Fredrick and Anna (Merkle) Heffner. He was baptized 3 September 1905 and his parents were his baptismal sponsors. Vernon was confirmed at Zion Chatt on 1 June 1919 by Rev. J.E. Albrecht.

In 1920 Vernon, age 14, lived in Chatt with his widowed mother Anna and his brother Roman,20. [1] In 1930 Vernon resided with his brother Oscar in Mendon, Ohio. Both worked in their garage, Oscar as the proprietor and Vernon as a mechanic. Vernon was single and Oscar indicated he was married. [2]

Sometime between 1930 and 1940 Vernon married Carmella May Bury. Carmella was born 24 May 1911 in Ohio to Cleveland and Anna M. (Sanft) Bury. [3]

In 1940 Vernon and Carmella lived in Mendon and Vernon’s brother Oscar resided with them. Vernon and Oscar labored as mechanics in their garage and Carmella was employed as a clerk in a post office. Oscar was divorced by this time. The 1940 census shows their highest levels of education: Vernon, 8th grade; Carmella, 2 years of college; Oscar, 1 year of high school. [4]

Vernon (aka Cy) and Oscar (aka Brownie) purchased a lot in Mendon in 1931 at a sheriff’s sale. They constructed a building there and did general auto repair and sold Sohio gasoline. They leased the station to Dale High and John Clay in 1946-47 as H & C Sohio. Bob and Vivian Clay leased it as Bob’s Pure Oil until 1961. Over the years they sold Sohio, Standard, Gulf, and Pure gasoline as well as used cars. [5]

Vernon also owned and trained standard breed horses and was known for his patience, knowledge, strict training schedule, and dedication. He trained at Spring Garden Ranch, Florida, as well as Greenville and Celina, Ohio. His most successful horse was the pacer Rocky Win and his most prestigious win was at the Ohio State Fair in 1957. [5]

Vernon’s wife Carmella died of abdominal cancer on 28 December 1978 at the Van Wert County Hospital. She was buried on the 31st. According to Zion Chatt’s records she was 67 years old and was survived by her husband and mother. She resided at 112 N. Washington Street in Mendon and was a high school teacher. [3]

Vernon died 31 December 1987 at Coldwater Community Hospital and was buried 2 January 1988. He was 82 years old and married. His funeral service was held in Mendon and was conducted by Glen Masser. [6]

Vernon and Carmella had no children.

Vernon married Mary Wilma (Zeigler) Lewis after Carmella’s death. Mary Wilma survived Vernon. [7]


[1] 1920 U.S. Census, Liberty, Mercer, Ohio, ED 140, p.3A, dwelling 44, family 44, Anna Heffner; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 14 December 2014); from NARA microfilm T625, roll 1418.

[2] 1930 U.S. Census, Mendon, Mercer County, Ohio, ED 25, p.1B, dwelling 24, family 24, Oscar F Heffner; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 11 January 2015); from NARA microfilm T626, roll 1850.

[3] “Ohio, County Death Records, 1840-2001,” index and images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 January 2015), Carmella May Heffner, 28 Dec 1978; citing Death, Van Wert, Pleasant Twp, Van Wert, Ohio, item 8 on 259, County courthouses, Ohio; from FHL microfilm 1952885.

[4] 1940 U.S. Census, Mendon, Mercer county, Ohio, ED 54-28, p.4B, household 91, Vernon Heffner; digital image by subscription, ( : accessed 11 January 2015); from NARA microfilm T627, roll 3114.

[5] Doug Roebuck, “Heffner Family History,” given to author March 2014.

[6] “Ohio, Death Index, 1908-1932, 1938-1944, and 1958-2007,” index, FamilySearch ( : accessed 30 Jan 2015), Vernon H Heffner, 31 Dec 1987; from “Ohio, Deaths, 1908-1932, 1938-1944, and 1958-2007,” index, Ancestry, citing Vol. 27109, certificate no. 093994, Ohio Historical Society, Columbus; Ohio Dept of Health, State Vital Statistics Unit, Columbus.

[7] Ohio, Rutherford B. Hayes Presidential Center Obituary Index, 1910s-2013, database on-line, ( : accessed 1 February 2015).


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