He was born in Cleveland and attended Cleveland Public Schools, Western Reserve University, and Pittsburgh Institute of Mortuary Science. After graduating mortuary school, he became a licensed Ohio Embalmer and Funeral Director in November 1960 and started his training at the House of Wills in Cleveland.
On January 1, 1964, he and his wife Julia took over ownership and operation of the Finley Mortuary, which was the first black owned and operated funeral home in Lorain County. He changed the name to Brown Funeral Home and became known throughout the community as a funeral director who would always work with you with great compassion. After serving the community for over 34 years, in 1998 he and his wife turned the ownership and every day operations over to Ray H. Robinson, Jr., who changed the name to Brown-Robinson Funeral Home. Vernon remained active in the funeral home and in 2010 received his 50 year recognition award from the OFDA for faithfully serving the people of his community as a licensed funeral professional.
Vernon served in the U.S. Army from 1951 to 1954, during the Korean War. His affiliations include Friendship Baptist Church, the Greater Lorain County Funeral Directors, the Embalmers Association of Ohio (EAO), the Ohio Funeral Directors Association (OFDA), a life member of the NAACP and member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity. He also served as Master of Buckeye Lodge #68 F&AM, Lorain; Bezaleel Consistory #15, Cleveland; past President (1987-1988) of Lorain Lions Club. Throughout his career he also received numerous community awards and recognitions.
Vernon is survived by his loving wife, Julia; his daughter, Melissa Brown; son, Dr. Irving A. Brown (Valerie); father-in-law, Ned Nunnally; brothers-in-law, James Nunnally, J.C. Nunnally (Bernice), John Nunnally (Lois), and Melvin Nunnally; sister-in-law, Diane Nunnally; grandson, Marshall and Jameason Brown; granddaughter, Chasity Pickett; and many other loving family members and friends.
Visitation will be held Wednesday, February 20, 2013 from 1 to 7 P.M. at Brown-Robinson Funeral Home, where Masonic services will be performed by Buckeye Lodge #68 F&AM from 6 to 7 P.M. Services will be held Thursday, February 21, 2013 at Compassion Baptist Church, 520 W. 22nd St., Lorain, where the Lorain Lions Club memorial service will begin at 11 A.M. followed by the funeral service at 12 Noon. Elder Ray H. Robinson, Jr. of Living Word Church will officiate. Burial with military honors will be at Elmwood Cemetery, Lorain.