MOUNTAIN CITY, Tx. – William Vernon Bevill, Jr., 68, died in an automobile accident on April 30, 2013 near his home in Mountain City, TX.
Vernon is survived by his loving wife of 48 years Mary Weedon Bevill, son Jeremy Clayton “Clay”, and two beautiful granddaughters, Peyten and Kyra, his mother, Louise Bevill Odum, and stepfather, Charles Odum, who reside in Mansfield, LA. Vernon also leaves behind scores of cousins and in-laws who will sorely miss their beloved “Junior.”
Vernon was preceded in death by his father, William Vernon Bevill, Sr., and sons, John Bryan and William Kevin.
Vernon was born in Mansfield, LA on April 20, 1945. He was a proud and loyal graduate of the Mansfield High School having recently chaired and attended the 50th reunion of the Class of 1963. He was an avid outdoorsman and skilled hunter who went on to earn his BS Degree in Wildlife Biology from Louisiana Tech. He subsequently earned a MS Degree in Biology from New Mexico State University, specializing in waterfowl. In 1995, Vernon was named “Alumnus of the Year” by both universities. Upon graduation he joined the South Carolina Wildlife Department, working in Edgefield, SC. Vernon’s specialty was wild turkey management and conservation. He was a driving force behind the creation of the National Wild Turkey Federation, and the relocation of the NWTF from Fredericksburg, VA to Edgefield, SC. His work in South Carolina helped set the standards needed to develop wild turkey restoration programs throughout North America.
He was a member of the first NWTF Advisory Board in 1973 and the first NWTF Technical Committee in 1975. In 2007, Vernon’s contributions were recognized when he was honored as the recipient of the highly coveted Henry S Mosby Award at the NWTF’s 31st Annual Convention. Between 1980 and 1985, Vernon was the Executive Director of North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission. He served in Mississippi from 1987 to 1991 as the Executive Director of that state’s Department of Wildlife and Fisheries.
During his entire career Vernon was an active member and leader in the Ducks Unlimited, Inc. organization, receiving multiple awards for his contributions to preserving waterfowl and wetland resources. In 1993, Vernon joined the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department as the Director of the Small Game Program, which included the Resident and Migratory Game Bird programs and later, the Habitat Assessment Program. Vernon remained Program Director until his retirement in March 2010. During his tenure at TPWD, Vernon served as Texas’ representative on the Central Flyway Council for his entire career. He also served as the Central Flyway Consultant to the USFWS Service Regulations Committee from 1994-1999 and 2006-2008, where he worked diligently to promote additional hunter opportunity in our state. He was the author of the agency’s strategic plans for Upland and Migratory Game Birds and played a significant role in the creation of the Department’s Quail Council. Upon his retirement from TPWD, Vernon joined his friend and former Louisiana Tech classmate, Jim Willis, to work for the Wildlife Habitat Federation, a non-profit organization focused on enhancing quail and upland bird habitat on private lands.
All who have had the opportunity to know Vernon will remember him as a true friend, dedicated wildlife professional, and a caring, giving family man. He was truly humble and attributed his success to “…all those who have worked with me and been a part of my career, and helped make me a little smarter because of their presence in my life.” None will ever forget his ample application of homespun Southern wit, wisdom, and colloquialisms. His smile was quick and endearing. He will be missed, but never forgotten.
A memorial service will be held in the chapel of Buda United Methodist Church at 1:00 PM, Saturday May 4th. www.harrellfuneralhomes.com