She was a devoted and loving wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, and an altruistic woman to her community.
Mrs. Baumstark was born near Gordonville, Aug. 31, 1917, to Ervin C.R. and Emilie Franck Vogelsang. At age 6, the family moved to Cape Girardeau. She and Dr. H.F. Baumstark, a longtime dentist in Cape Girardeau, were married April 9, 1942, in St. Louis. He preceded her in death July 16, 1979.
Vernice was a 1939 graduate of DePaul Hospital School of Nursing. In 1979 she was made an honorary member of DePaul Alumnae.
Her genuine dedication to community service began the year she was married, first serving as the Red Cross instructor of Nurse Aides at Old Saint Francis Hospital during World War II. During flood periods in the Cape Girardeau area, she was charge nurse of the Red Cross Nurse Aides.
At Old St. Vincent School in 1951, she originated the health program for the school, as well as the Holy Family (Mission) School and served nine years. Later, she helped Notre Dame High School with a health program to meet the needs for membership in the accreditation of Secondary Northwestern Catholic High School. She served three years as a den mother with the Cub Scouts at Old St. Vincent School.
In 1958 she was instrumental in the inception of the then Retarded Children Association (RCA). Serving on a most successful finance drive in 1959, a preschool was started. As a charter board member of RCA, she became active with VIP Industries. After the opening of the Residential Center and Respite Care Home, she served as nurse consultant.
With Sister Virgilia as administrator of the old Saint Francis Hospital, Vernice helped to organize the auxiliary and became the first president from 1959 to 1961. Re-elected as the ninth president in 1975, she served as the last president at the old Saint Francis Hospital and the first president in 1976 at the new Saint Francis Medical Center. She was a life member of the auxiliary.
Her dedication spurred her to have the statue of Saint Francis moved to the new medical center, with the fountain at the entrance. Due to her concern for a memorial for Saint Francis, the bell tower at old Saint Francis was salvaged, being installed in later years in a grotto in honor of Sister Virgilia, by the administrative board. She also served as chair of the candy stripers, gift cart, emergency room, Christmas decorations, Lifeline, flowers, Health Fair for Southeast Missouri Area Agency on Aging, Fall Festival and the craft group.
In 1977 she was chosen Auxiliary Woman of the year by the Missouri Hospital Association. She was a life member of Friends of Saint Francis. In 1980 she was the sixth person to be selected as honorary by the Friends. This automatically gave her the privilege to serve in choosing future honorary members.
As a member of Wednesday Club, GFWC, she served as treasurer, secretary, citizenship chairwoman, district Sophomore Pilgrimage chairwoman, district Revisions and Resolutions chairwoman. In 1981 Mrs. Baumstark was chosen to represent the state of Missouri as the first distinguished Volunteer of the Year.
She was a member of the Ladies Auxiliary to VFW Post 3838. She was very active with the cancer society. From 1959 to 1961 she was the house-to-house crusade chairman, president 1963 to 1964, then secretary 10 years.
When Reach to Recovery was begun in Cape Girardeau in 1971, Mrs. Baumstark was the coordinator at both Saint Francis and Southeast Hospital 15 years. Besides a life membership in the State Historical Society of Missouri, she was a member of the Historical Association of Greater Cape Girardeau and the Cape River Heritage Museum.
Vernice was a charter member of the SEMO Chapter of the Kidney Foundation. Other organizations she supported were Community Concert, SEMO Council on the Arts, White House Retreat in St. Louis, University Theater and Missouri Citizens for Life.
In 1979 she joined Old St. Vincent Church. She was a choir member as well as a lector. When Friends of Old St. Vincent Inc. was organized for restoration of the church, Vernice served on the special gifts and general solicitations committee.
She was nominated for "Woman of the Year", sponsored by Business and Professional Women's Club and also for the "Golden Deeds Award" that the Chamber of Commerce sponsored.
Vernice lived in Port Orange, Fla., from 1987 to 1995. She was a member of the Church of Epiphany and a volunteer at Sugar Mill Elementary. Upon her return to Cape Girardeau, she volunteered at St. Mary's School.
She leaves behind to cherish her memory a brother, Bob Vogelsang (Sandra) of Farmington, Mo.; beloved daughters Harriet Maier and Mary Barnes of Rockville, Md.; a beloved son, Vincent (Susan) Baumstark of Port Orange; a daughter-in-law, Mary Alice Baumstark of Omaha, Neb.; 10 loving grandchildren; and 11 great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her husband, Dr. H.F. Baumstark; a son, Dr. John S. Baumstark; three sisters, Viola Reed, Erma Oliver, Vera Phillips; five brothers, Ervin, Earl, Calvin, Kenneth and Charles Vogelsang.
Vernice enjoyed spending time with family and friends, bowling and serving her church and community.
Viewing will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Ford and Sons Mount Auburn Funeral Home. Parish prayers will be at 7.
Funeral Mass will be at 10 a.m. Wednesday at Old St. Vincent Church, with the Rev. Monsignor Richard Rolwing officiating. Burial will be in St. Mary's Cemetery.
It is Mrs. Baumstark's request that memorials be given to Old St. Vincent Church or Saint Francis Medical Center.
Online condolences may be made at www.fordandsonsfuneralhome.com.