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Obituary for Vernal "Vern" Hegenbart

Vernal “Vern” Peter Hegenbart took his next step toward eternity on January 16, 2023, at Morrow Home in Sparta, Wis. He, and his beloved twin brother, Virgil, were born 15 minutes apart at home in rural Rockland Wis., on December 8, 1937. Virgil was the eldest by 15 minutes, a fact he never let Vernal forget. For the rest of their lives the twins were never more than 15 minutes apart, either in person or in spirit.

Vernal is further survived by his son, John; daughter, Michelle (Jeff) Flick; sister, Susan (Terry) Larson; and grandchildren, Brittney, Mason, Cody, Colin, Emily, and Holly; and great-grandchild, Maddox.

Vernal attended Clements Elementary School and then Cashton High School, where he began a lifetime of leadership when he was elected Student Council President. He led the effort to hold the first Sno-Ball, a semi-formal dance, a tradition that continued for many years. He also joined the Army National Guard in his senior year.

After high school, Vernal joined Jewel Tea Company where he was quickly promoted and became the youngest assistant manager in the history of the company. It was with Jewel that he set his first national sales record. After Jewel, he joined the Health-Mor Corporation and set his second national sales record. He then joined the AFLAC Insurance Company where he set his third national sales record and served his policy holders for almost 50 years.

Vernal loved the Holy Roman Catholic Church and was one of the first in the Diocese to be commissioned a Lector and Eucharistic Minister, a duty that he continued for many years. Vernal was very active in his parish, St. Leo the Great Catholic Church in West Salem, serving as usher, adult education leader, member of the parish council, men’s club, rosary leader, and chair of several committees. Due to leadership from he and his committee, Vernal was most pleased, when the annex was dedicated to former pastor, Father Robert Hansen.

Vernal was active in the Pro-Life Movement for several years; during which time he wrote hundreds of letters to the editor and guest editorials in an effort to educate people about the immorality and cruelty of abortion and euthanasia.

Vernal loved his family dearly and was always available for inspiration and advice.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m., Monday, January 23, 2023, at St. Teresa of Kolkata Parish (formerly, St. Leo the Great), in West Salem. Father John Parr and Deacon Bob Zietlow will celebrate the Mass. Burial will be in Gate of Heaven Catholic Cemetery in La Crosse. A visitation will be held from 9:00 a.m. until the time of Mass, Monday, at the church. In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to Wisconsin Right To Life.

Fredrickson Funeral Homes and Crematory, Jostad Chapel, West Salem, is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be offered at

The last several years of Vernal's life were quite difficult but he faced them with courage and determination. He always offered them up as reparation for sin with hope that it would shorten his time in Purgatory. Please pray for his soul.