Vernell Elaine Buckner was born on April 21, 1945 in Dallas, Texas to Levi Vernon Buckner and Edith Mable Smith Buckner. In her early years she and her parents enjoyed spending weekends, holidays, and summers with her maternal grandparents, aunts, and uncles in Rockwall, TX. She participated in Brownie Girl Scouts and 4H. From an early age she enjoyed designing and sewing her own clothes. As a teenager, she started teaching piano lessons during the summer months. Vernell was baptized on June 26, 1961 at Webb Chapel Methodist Church where she later became their assistant organist and an active member of the Methodist Youth Fellowship. She attended Richardson High School where she played flute in the band, was a member of Future Homemakers of America, and Spanish Club. After graduating high school as an Honor Student on May 30, 1963, she attended Texas Women’s University. She was a member of several honor sororities and was picked as a duchess at the A&M Cotton Ball her junior year. In November 1966 she met her future husband when she and a group from TWU went to a dance at Ft. Wolters, Texas. On June 4, 1967 she received her Bachelor of Science degree in Interior Design and began work as a draftsman for Phillips, Proctor, and Bowers in Dallas until 1968. She went on to work as an interior designer for Highland Furniture until she married Walter E. Hooge, Jr. on November 15, 1969 and moved to Longview, TX.
In her early married years she taught piano lessons to the neighborhood children in Longview Heights until she was blessed with three children, and later 10 grandchildren. She continued to use her many talents in various areas of homemaking, but her role as mother always took precedence. She taught each of her children to sew, decorate, and draw house plans. She used her draftsman skills to design a major addition to their home in Longview Heights. She always enjoyed reading for pleasure as well as with her children and grandchildren. Every year she planned a summer vacation trip for the family, many of which were on Amtrak.
She attended Our Redeemer Lutheran Church with Walt and was confirmed on June 7, 1970. For almost 50 years, she served various roles at the church, occasionally serving as a teacher, organist, pianist, and flutist. In more recent years she also made floral arrangements for Sunday worship.
For the last 20 years, Vernell devoted herself to caring for Walt as his Parkinson’s Disease progressed. In 2018 Vernell was diagnosed with heart failure and just 3 weeks after Walt’s passing, she was united with her Savior on June 10, 2019. The family appreciates the residents and staff of Buckner Westminster Place who made Vernell and Walt feel at home there for the past 2 1/2 years. She was preceded in death by her parents Levi Vernon Buckner and Edith Smith Buckner, her husband Walter E. Hooge, Jr. and her granddaughter Kathryn Hooge. She is survived by her son Paul Hooge and wife Jennifer, and their children, Colleen, Matthew, and Anna; daughter, Karen Beakley and husband Darin, and their children Sterling, Grant, and Laurelise; and daughter Ruth Case and husband Gordon and their children Samuel, Harrison, and Levi.
Visitation will be held from 6-8 pm on June 13 in the Garden Court of Welch Funeral Home. Funeral services will be held at 11:00 am on June 14 at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church in Longview, TX.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests donations to Our Redeemer Lutheran Church.