On October 17, 2019 at 9.38 PM MST, Vern heard the words from Matthew 25:23, “well done, good and faithful servant, you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things, enter into the joy of the Lord, the One he served with all his heart.”
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LaVern Adolph "Vern" Bitterman was born in Havre, MT on March 8, 1925 to Adolph and Annie (Christiansen) Bitterman, where he spent his childhood and graduated from Havre High School in 1943. Vern chose to take early graduation as World War II was on, and he enlisted in the US Navy in May of 1943. He attended basic training in Sandpoint, ID and completed aviation training school in Norman, OK. He later completed advanced airplane mechanic training in Norfolk, VA and Sanford, FL. During WW II, he kept the American airplanes in top shape while being stationed in the Mariana Islands of the Pacific Theatre. During that time he was honored to be chosen to work on General Nimitz’s plane. He was honorably discharged in 1946 having attained the rank of Aviation Machinist Mate, 3rd Class. One of his fondest memories on the island was when Gene Autry came to sing for the troops each night.
After the war, Vern returned to Havre where he gained employment with H-O Motor Supply. He began his 25 year career as a Machinist, then was promoted to Parts Counter Salesman, Assistant Manager, and eventually Outside Salesman. When the opportunity arose, Vern accepted the Store Manager position with Valley Motor Supply in Havre, a position he held for 8 years, until being promoted to Purchasing Agent in the Valley Motor Supply Parts Warehouse. In 1983, Valley Motor combined their warehouses into one location, in Billings, MT. Vern, Virginia and their oldest son Lonnie, who also worked for Valley Motors, made the decision to sell their family home and ownership in the family farm and move to Billings. Once there, Vern worked in the purchasing department for several years, and became Team Leader of the catalog and mail department until his retirement in 1991.
After his retirement, Vern developed a love for woodworking and crafts. He and his wife Virginia also became custodial caretakers for the Parkhill Assembly of God Church for 16 years under the leadership of Rev. Bob Fox. Vern loved spending his free time fishing and hunting with his friends & family. For many years the family’s favorite vacations were spent at Glacier Bible Camp in Hungry Horse, MT.
In 2013, Vern had the privilege of being invited on The Honor Flight accompanied with his son, Larry. This trip made him very proud, he had a wonderful time, especially visiting the World War II Memorial Pacific Arch honoring those who fought on Saipan and Tinian, where he spent over a year.
Vern was a faithful husband and father, but most of all a dedicated follower of his Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ. He helped build the Havre Assembly of God church where he served as Royal Ranger leader, Sunday School Teacher and was elected Deacon for many years with duties of church treasurer.
LaVern is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, Virginia (King); son Lonnie (Anita); son Larry (Lori Rae); his daughter Lori Ann; six grandchildren and five great grandchildren; his brother Donald (Linda); sister-in-law Naomi; many nieces and nephews; and Jeff (Dawn) Pattison which Vern unofficially adopted into his family so he could say “my 3 sons”. He was preceded in death by his parents, his three sisters, Betty Ann, Arlene, & Helen, and his brother Rev. Robert Bitterman of Georgia.
We wish to thank the staff of St. John’s Lutheran Garden Court, the Pastoral staff and St Johns Hospice Care for the excellent care Vern received, our family could not have done it without them, you were a true blessing to our family. We especially wish to thank the CNA’s, who not only loved Vern but took such wonderful care of him for over 3 years. His name at St. John’s was “Dad”.
Memorial Service will be held on November 1st 10:00 AM at Parkhill Assembly of God 1707 Parkhill Dr. Billings, MT 59012. Interment and Military Honors 2:00 PM at the Yellowstone National Cemetery 55 Buffalo Trail Road Laurel, MT 59044
Memorials can be made to Montana Glacier Bible Camp, 2147 Overland Ave, Suite 100 Billings, MT 59102 and/or the Alzheimer’s Assn of Billings, 3010 11th Ave N, Billings, MT 59101.