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Vernon "Luke" Auen

Vernon Vernon “Luke” Auen of Manhattan, Kansas, passed away on May 09, 2020 at Good Shepard Hospice House.

Luke was born at home in Mott North Dakota on November 13, 1931 to George and Viola (Larschied) Auen. He attended Mott school and soon left to be a farm hand in the community.

Luke ventured off to Sioux Falls SD where he worked for the John Morrell processing plant (amazing history) until he was drafted into the Marines. He was stationed at the Quantico Base. He was chosen as the General’s personal driver and thus was requested to stay in the states and not go to Korea. Nicknamed “Goody” he was very proud and honored to have that job.

Discharged from the Marines he returned to Sioux Falls, SD where met AnnaLou Townsend, Pierpont, SD. at the famous Arkota Ballroom in Sioux Falls. The Arkota had a 6600 sq. ft dance floor and had the big bands and top acts in…. Frank Sinatra, Lawrence Welk, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Tommy & Jimmy Dorsey to name a few. THEY LOVED TO DANCE! The jitter bug and square dancing were their favorites, and boy could they cut a rug. So fun to watch. They married in June 1955 and shortly thereafter started their family living in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Luke became a “Master Carpenter”, after 2 years of specialty school, and began building new homes in new developments of Sioux Falls, SD. In 1967 he was offered a sales position, by lifelong friends Gene and Bettie Larsen, with Directory Service Co. Directory Service Company was the rural directory that had the current maps and landowners of each county. Luke visited the business owners in each community where he enjoyed meeting each client. Luke never met anyone that wasn’t immediately a friend. The family was relocated to Norfolk Nebraska, Centralia, Kansas and in 1969 to Manhattan, Kansas. He continued to build homes and work the entire state of Kansas with Directory Service.

After retiring from selling Rural Directories, in 1987, he followed one of his sons to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts where he eventually started building new homes for the Islanders. Of all the homes he designed and built he especially loved the “Bird House”. It was an A frame home he and Mom designed with a front deck, wood shake shingle siding tucked in pine trees. He loved the Vineyard and the ocean.

For the last seven years, Luke has endured Parkinson’s disease. For the last 5 years he was in need of full care and became a resident of the Sloan House in Meadowlark Hills, Manhattan, Kansas where he received excellent care. The entire family was very grateful to have had Sloan House.

Luke is preceded in death by his wife, AnnaLou; his parents; four brothers Leland, Gary, Myron and Dennis Dean; and two sisters Rosemary and Angie.

He is survived by daughters; Cindy (Mike) Baker, Phoenix, Arizona; Lisa Auen, Manhattan, Kansas: sons; Jeff (Rainey) Auen, Casper, Wyoming; Howard (Norrice) Auen, Boston, Massachusetts; and Dennis (Becky) Auen, Portland, Tennessee; 9 grandchildren and 6 great-grandhildren. Luke is also survived by 3 siblings; Richard Auen, Jennifer Bonness, Hastings, Minnesota, and Clint Auen, Alabama.

Private family services and military honors were held at the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Chapel with Father Frank Coady officiating. Interment followed in the Kansas Veterans Cemetery at Fort Riley.

Online condolences may be left for the family through the funeral home website at

Memorial contributions may be made to either the Meadowlark Hills Foundation for Sloan House or the Parkinson Support Group at Meadowlark Hills. Contributions may be left in care of the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, KS 66502.

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