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Vernon Stevenson
A memorial service is planned for Monday, March 2 at 1:30 p.m. at Salas Brothers Funeral Chapel, 419 Scenic Dr., Modesto, for Vernon "Bert" Stevenson, 85, of Modesto. He died Feb. 16, 2009 at Memorial Medical Center in Modesto.

Born April 9, 1923, Bert was a native of Licking, Mo. He graduated from Tulare High School, where he played football and excelled in the music department. He was a protege of Proof Frank Mancini, who helped him secure a teaching position at Ceres High School in 1946, after graduating from San Jose State College. He taught at Ceres High for 32 years, where he was a counselor and taught choral and instrumental music, winning many awards with his concert band Ceres was considered "the little town with the big band." Mr. Stevenson was also the founder of the Modesto Adult Band. He was in the instrument repair business at Modesto Music Store in the 1950s and 1960s.

During World War II, Bert became a Naval officer, earning his wings at Pensacola, Fla., before completing his education. Later he became chief pilot for Gottschalk Flight Center in Modesto in the 1960s and later became an FAA examiner for commercial and instrument pilots at Modesto Flight Center. He was seriously involved in showing Morgan horses and was the president of the Northern California Morgan Horse Club in 1968. After retiring from teaching, he took up farming on his 54-acre walnut ranch on the Tuolumne River east of Modesto. He enjoyed fishing, hunting, backpacking and tennis.

He leaves behind his wife, Cynthia Stevenson of Modesto; and three children, Douglas Stevenson and Carol Wright, both of Elk Grove, and Donald Stevenson of Modesto; and four grandchildren, Amber Stevenson, Justin Stevenson, Jordan Stevenson and Leslie Wright. He was preceded in death by his parents, Mary Elva and Earl Stevenson.

Remembrances may be sent to Community Hospice, 4368 Spyres Way, Modesto, CA 95356.