Sunday, August 1, 2004

Ronald E. Vest, 69, farmer, family man


He raised cattle, tobacco, corn and hay

By Chris Mayhew
Enquirer staff writer

VERONA - Farming wasn't just a way of life for Ronald E. Vest, it was a way of staying close with his family.

Mr. Vest died Tuesday at St. Luke West in Florence. He was 69.

Mr. Vest grew up on his father's farm on Stephenson Mill Road in Verona, and continued to work the land on a farm farther down the road the rest of his life.

He had dairy cattle and raised tobacco, corn and hay.

What he enjoyed most about farming was working with his family, said his son, Gregory R. Vest of Verona.

"When you farm, you farm together," he said. "The grandkids, they were a part of it. That's one of the things he loved, you're still generally with your family."

Mr. Vest had a special relationship with his grandchildren, especially with his grandson Gregory Edward Vest, who attends Eastern Kentucky University.

His grandson wrote a poem about his grandfather while in grade school, said Mr. Vest's wife for 49 years, Joyce Courtney Vest.

He called the poem, "Picture of a Grandpa," and included these lines:

"Grandpa reminds of a great big bear. And wherever he is I am probably there," he wrote. "...His office is the great wide outdoors. His breaks come next to never. But when it's time for family we'll always be together."

His grandson said he looked up to his grandfather because he was so devoted to his family.

"He was just such a caring man," his grandson Gregory said. "We just did everything together when I was growing up. I just loved spending time with him."

Mr. Vest left a legacy behind in the hearts of his children and grandchildren, and in all the people who knew him.

"A lot of things I learned in life, I learned from him," Gregory said.

Family was everything to him, and farming was what he knew, said his wife, Joyce Vest.

"It was a hard life, but it was just something you do and it becomes a part of you," she said.

Mr. Vest enjoyed playing baseball in church leagues when he was younger, and was a founding member and former treasurer of the Verona Volunteer Fire Department for more than 20 years.

He was a former board member of Farmers Home Administration, Boone County Farm Bureau, Bi-County Co-op, and the Boone County Stabilization and Conservation Service. He also was a former delegate for the Cincinnati Milk Marketing Association.

Other survivors include his daughter, Connie Kenkel of White Oak; mother, Grace Burnette Vest of Verona; brother, Rodney of Verona, and eight grandchildren.

Visitation will be 4-8 p.m. today and service 3 p.m. Monday at Hamilton-Stanley Funeral Home in Verona. Burial will be in New Bethel Cemetery in Verona.

Memorials: New Bethel Baptist Church, 2022 Verona-Mudlick Road, Verona, KY 41092 or Verona Life Squad, 14920 Walton-Verona Road, Verona, KY 41092.

E-mail cmayhew@enquirer.com




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