About

About Me

Born in 1940 and raised in the Philippines by Presbyterian missionary parents.

Our family escaped Philippines during WW ll. Then returned to the Philippines 1946. My father, Douglas Vernon, a Marine Corps Chaplain, survived, November 1943 Tarawa beach landing in S. Pacific. In a book about Tarawa he is referred to as Chaplain.

Elementary and high school at Brent School in Baguio in Luzon, Philippines. Finished my senior year of high school in Oberlin, Ohio.

BA from Hanover, Indiana 1963. # 1 on tennis team. All conference player.

In 1963 Married Joyce Field (JV).

Sabah Malaysia

2 years as Peace Corps Volunteers stationed in Sabah (North Borneo), Malaysia. We lived and worked among the Kadazan people, the largest indigenous group in Sabah.

  • Joyce in Kadazan

    JV doing the Sumazow, a traditional Kadazan dance. Men and women do not touch.

  • Basketball Team

    I was recruited to play on the Jesselton basketball team…front row team sponsors, all wealthy business men.

  • Basketball Game

With basketball team from Jesselton (now Kota Kinabalu) Sabah, we became the Malaysian Basketball National Champs by winning it all in Kuala Lumpur. Media called me “The Towering American.” Unlike African Masai warriors, Malaysians aren’t known for their height. Our team consisted almost entirely of tall Chinese players and me. Scored 50 points one game. When word spread about team strength, standing room only at our games.  JV escorted into stadiums, art of queuing not adopted by Malaysians.

Next year Malaysia passed law requiring players for nationals to be Malaysian citizens. End of my basketball career. No feelers from NBA. 😀 I wasn’t an ugly American, just a tall American. I was always well received in our touring games.

  • Mt. Kilabalu

  • Kinabalu Mountain Group

While in Sabah we climbed Mount Kinabalu, 13,500, highest mountain in SE Asia. Gunting, our guide, had been decorated by Queen Elizabeth for his trail cutting on Kinabalu. Gunting is at far right.

10 climbers included teachers, secondary boys, and us. For months before our climb, several women and girl students planned to join the climb, but as day drew near they all dropped out.

2 Landrovers took climbers to mountain base. All day drive through jungle on dirt roads or tracks. We spent night in hut of an acquaintance of one of our climbers. Owner slept on floor so JV and I could have a bed. Up the next day to start climb. Not bad at first; then the lower reaches became steep. One climber relieved JV of her backpack. Just then we were passed by women barefoot walking up the mountain carrying boards on their heads for building a communication station farther up the mountain. OK. Was this a set up?  We spent night in cave at about 10,000 feet…cold. Up next day at 3:00 AM to beat the clouds that invariably roll in. We climbed in dark with flashlights rest of way to the peak. Cold soon drove us down mountain. A successful excursion, but back home, JV swelled up from exhaustion, she looked like a Michelin tire ad. 30 years later one of our sons in law climbed Kinabalu with a friend. In their picture at peak we viewed a plaque commemorating our guide, Gunting.

  • Girl Guides

  • As PCVs in Sabah we taught elementary (JV) and high school (PV).

    JV organized a large group of Girl Guides, pictured below in front of our little house.

Returned to Indiana

University, Bloomington, Indiana for a MA and Ph D in Geography, with foci on quantitative methods, demography and statistics. Dr. George Stolnitz was my dissertation adviser. Stolnitz was internationally renowned Economist and Demographer for his work on developing Life Tables with incomplete data for use in developing countries.

Thesis topic was Spatial Dimensions of US Labor Force Migration, 1960 – 1963.

Based on a public use tape from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a 1 % sample of US labor force…1 million records. Programmed in Fortran IV for all number crunching. Had to queue my computer runs for after midnight because my programs tied up university computers.

In 1966 JV gave birth to our twin daughters. we now have 5 grandkids…Sophia, Ana, Henry. Dom, and Kate.  All active in sports, theater and music.

Rebecca and Jessica played Div 1 tennis. Kate is our budding actress.

Spent Summer as Statistitian with the US Census Bureau, Suitland, Maryland. Assisted Henry Shryock, Assistant Chief, Population Division. Helped write Methods and Materials of Demography, a Census Bureau publication.

1970 – 1977 Professor at Pitt, Pittsburgh PA.  At graduate level taught quantitative methods, statistics, spatial analysis.

While at Pitt, Chairman of Social Sciences Computer Research Institute.

Because of Interest in health, death causes, in 1977 I accepted position of Research Director of Health Systems Agency of Northeastern New York, Albany, NY.

1988 Hired by New York State Department of Health, (DOH) to direct Quantitative Analysis and Special Studies Unit that became Bureau of Analysis and Program Evaluation, and finally Policy Analysis.

At DOH, health services research and publications in end stage renal disease (ESRD), elderly cardiac surgery, AIDS, Lyme disease. Conducted health resource needs for hospital, nursing home beds, home health care slots, physician supply and distribution.

Successfully responded to an RFP (Request for Proposal) from Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Awarded a $ 1 million grant for development of small area analysis system for targeting, health resource allocation at local level, and how NYS spends its health care dollars.

Helped develop a Universal Health Care Plan for NYS…UNY*Care. Effort was shelved when Hillary Care was proposed.

Faculty in School of Public Health, State University of NY, (SUNY/ Albany, NY)

Retired in 2000 on my 60th birthday.

2001 became snow birds and bought a condo and then a home in World Tennis Club ( Naples, FL)

2004 – 2008 President of Corinthian Gardens Home Owners Association.

2008 – 2009 Vice President of WTC Master Board.

Hobbies

Hobbies include tennis, writing, and cooking. As for tennis, in 1973, ’74 qualified for the National Intercollegiate Clay Court Championships (West Penn). 1940s Bill Tilden won West Penn twice. First year I played, Vitas Gerilitus won it, next year, Peter Flemming, who went on to partner with John McEnroe in doubles, World # 1, US Davis Cup.

During 1980s, Played open tournaments in Pittsburgh, Albany NY, West Virginia. In 2000 competed in the National Senior Invitational tournament in Atlanta, Georgia, In 2000 – 2005 played national clay court tournaments in Morgantown, West Virginia, Atlanta, Georgia + National Grass Courts, Philadelphia. Attained a national ranking of 77 in 60’s. In 2004 was # 15 in the Eastern region.

  • 2002 won the 60 and up French Open of Naples at Quail West. Defeated the Quail West Assistant pro in semis.
  • 2005 ranking was 99 in 65’s.
  • 2005 was last year I was physically able to compete at national level.
  • 2005 – 2008: Active in Super Seniors in SW Florida, but I was facing a deteriorating physical condition. Could not last 3 sets, no stamina. Could not last through a tough 1st set without hyperventilating.
  • 2009 – 2010 dropped out of super seniors. Did win WTC doubles with Ted Jacobson, 2010.
  • 2010 – 2014 could no longer play tennis. Too weak and fatigued. JV and I walked and watched tennis.

2011 – 2012. CLL treatment years: infusion therapy…chemo (Treanda) + mono clonal antibodies (Rituxan), v b 12 shots. Chemo side effects: Atrial fibrillation (A – Fib) detected by Oncologist in 2012, Bell’s Palsy (mini stroke), hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in ears), lesions on stomach and spleen, asthma, gastroenteritis, canker sores in mouth.

Most of these maladies still persist. Was treatment worth it? Guess so. Would I go through chemo again? I’ll get back to you.

Will leukemia come back? Probably.

2013 – 2014 Recovery years? Was in leukemia remission. But in 2013 wife JV diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease. I gained control over my condition, JV lost hers. I couldn’t handle the implication. I fell into deep depression. Became chronically dehydrated from combined effects of chemo and depression.

Treatment for A – fib consisted of 3 failed cardio versions. 1 failed catheter oblation. Stubborn heart condition.

March 30, Heart Rhythm Specialist…”I can’t do anything more for you.” He cut me loose.

March 25 – 30, 2015, urinary tract infection from urinary catheter. Three rounds of antibiotics to quell infection.

April 1, 2015, April Fools’ Day. Sudden rebirth. New Life. New hope.  I could write.  I could cook. I wanted to play tennis again.

Read more of PT for why my life suddenly changed for the better.