Vernon Chauncey Olcott, 97, passed away at home on December 22, 2022. He was born April 4, 1925, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, to the late Vernon and Frances Olcott. On June 26, 1948, Vern married Bonnie June Allgeo, who preceded him in death in September. Together, they lived a life full of family, faith, service, and love.
He loved driving and flying from a young age, including borrowing cars from his father’s car dealership to take joyrides before he had a driver’s license, and attempting to fake his age to join the military before he even turned 18. Later in life, he earned a recreational pilot’s license alongside his father and son.
He attended Albion College where he played football and was a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity before joining the Army Air Corps and serving in Europe during World War II. After the war, he married and moved to Chicago with the love of his life for her teaching career. While there, he graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in business.
In 1950, the couple moved to his hometown of Allegan so Vern could run his family’s business. He was the owner and operator of Red’s Motor Parts until its closing in 1995. In retirement, he worked hobby jobs including driving cars to and from local car dealerships for sales and trades, stocking vending machines, and operating the carousel at Maple Hill Mall in Kalamazoo.
Vern and Bonnie split their time between Allegan and the Allgeo family gathering place on Barlow Lake in Middleville, Mich. They had great faith in God and physically split their devotion as well; being long-time members of Allegan United Methodist Church and frequent worshippers at Middleville United Methodist Church.
Alongside Bonnie, Vern volunteered extensively at Ascension Borgess Allegan Hospital up until the pandemic.
He was a member of the Air Force Reserves for many years and a long-time member of the Allegan Rotary Club, where he served as president and received the Red Rose Award.
His interests included traveling, Detroit Tigers baseball, reading Tom Clancy novels, and anything related to cars, racing, and airplanes.
Vern is survived by his children, Judy (Robert) Woods, Sue Chappell, Beth (Monte) Stanloski, and Mark (June) Olcott; grandchildren, Sara (Jason) Ramaker, Lisa (James) Moore, Matthew (Camille) Woods, Kieran Marshall, Lauren and Katharine Olcott, and Molly Stanloski; great-grandchildren, Patrick Ramaker and Milo and Ruby Moore; sisters, Deane Williams and Joy (Alan) Gough, and many nieces and nephews. In addition to Bonnie, his wife of 74 years, he was preceded in death by his parents and many beloved family and friends.
A Memorial Service will be held at the Allegan United Methodist Church on Saturday, January 14, 2023. Visitation will be from 10:00 AM to 11:30 AM, with the Memorial Service beginning at 11:30 AM, military honors to follow.
Donations in Vern’s memory made be made to Allegan United Methodist Church (409 Trowbridge St., Allegan, MI 49010) or Wings of Hope Hospice (530 Linn St., Allegan, MI 49010).