Vernon Lee Kliewer , age 89, died peacefully on April 10, 2017, in Carmel, Indiana.
He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Diane Suter Kliewer; his three children, Konrad Kliewer (Janet), Julie Kliewer; and Rebecca Kliewer Nickless (Gary); his eight grandchildren, Jason and Ryan Bush, Cassandra Lillibridge, Kelsea Culp, Joe Nickless (Andi), Jon Nickless (Meghan), Joshua and Natalie Nickless, and five great-grandchildren Sammie, Benjamin, and Blaine Bush, Emma and Luke Nickless. He is preceded in death by his parents Johann Kliewer and Marie Foth Kliewer; and his 17 brothers and sisters.
Vernon was born on October 11, 1927 in LeHigh, Kansas, where he grew up on a family farm, attended a one-room school, and graduated from Hillsboro High School. He earned a bachelor's degree from Bethany College, a master's degree from Illinois Wesleyan, and completed a Ph.D. in Music Theory from Indiana University. He taught at Arizona State College in Flagstaff for several years, and was the conductor of the Northern Arizona Symphony, until he returned to Indiana University in 1961 to join the faculty of the IU School of Music, where he worked as a teacher and administrator for over 30 years, including serving as Director of Graduate Studies as well as Assistant Dean and Associate Dean of Instruction.
While living in Indiana, Vernon enjoyed many interests. He cultivated orchids, specializing in growing and developing hybrids of paphiopedilum, and developed abundant flower and vegetable gardens. He mastered the Dutch language, and he and Diane experienced sabbatical in Holland, where Vern researched historical music theory. Vernon and Diane's adventures included travels around the United States including backpacking in the Grand Canyon, and several European trips. Vernon and Diane retired to Arizona, and Vern directed his love of growing plants to desert landscaping, hauling tons of river rock by hand to build an extensive rock garden with native plants on their Tucson property.
Vernon will be remembered as an accomplished individual, generous and hard-working, a man of integrity, and beloved of family and friends.
A private memorial will be held for Vernon's immediate family.
In lieu of flowers, his family asks that a donation be made in recognition of Vernon to Native Seeds/SEARCH, Tuscon, Arizona. http://nativeseeds.org
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