Vernon John Ulrich
10/25/1946 - 04/30/2019
At 10:09, on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, Vernon John Ulrich, 72, of Hibbing, MN, slid across the finish line in an old hotrod that had all 8 pistons slapping, no oil remaining in the sump, 4 completely bald tires, a badly overheated mill that had long since boiled its coolant out, and not a vapor of fuel remaining. He left his mourning family the way he had lived his entire life, fighting like Hell, breaking all the rules and expectations, and on his own terms.
During the final months of his time in this world, his family was given multiple impending death notices from nurses, but true to his outlaw self, the rules never applied to Vern, including the rules of life and death.
Those hands… the ones that were always callused and oil stained… hands that were quick to knock sense into our heads when we strayed from logic… hands that could seemingly fix anything… hands that were always open to helping any person in need… those hands are finally able to put down their tools and rest.
True to his wishes, Vern was able to cross that finish line within the walls of his own home of 40 years. It is fitting that within those very walls that Vern exhaled his final breath he also raised his beloved children and fur babies. Vern was quite proud that those walls rested on the family land of which he spent his youth.
Vern was born in Thief River Falls and raised in Hibbing Minnesota, where he attended Hibbing Schools. Although he spent a stint in the USAF and sometime living and working with his friends in Aurora, MN, Hibbing is where he called home. He was a proud resident of “The Range,” and never wished to spend more than a few days from his trees, lakes, and rust red hills.
Vern married the love of his life, Tami Jo Carignan Ulrich, on September 25, 1981. Together they would build their business, Budget Motors Used Car Sales, and raise two children, John and Mary.
In 1983, Tami and Vern established Budget Motors, because Vern’s true talent was car sales and maintenance, and following orders had never been his strong suit in life. From his first breath till his last exhalation of life, Vern had gasoline in his veins and gears in his brains. Hotrods, snowmobiles, ATV’s, and motorcycles… if it had an engine, Vern not only wanted to drive it, but push it beyond its limits. Vern bestowed upon his son an appreciation of motorsports, as well. When not working for their business together, Vern and his son would spend weekends and evenings at classic car events, wrenching on their rides, or just cruising together in cars built with love and plenty of cuss words.
Vernon was kept youthful and alert by the constant entertaining antics of his beloved youngest, Mary, who shared his aversion to authority and his penchant for finding trouble. Like father, like daughter has never been a more true statement.
Despite Vern’s outlaw personality and sometimes rough exterior projection, he was known to have a soft spot for children, animals, or anyone in need. He was quite known by his regular customers as a man who would work with them when cash was short. “As Is” didn’t always hold true with Vern, as he was understanding of the importance of transportation to “the working man.” When one of the used cars that he sold came back to him with a problem, he would always do his best to “meet the customer in the middle.” He did his best to see that these lessons in empathy were passed down to his children, as they grew into adulthood.
Vern had a great adoration and appreciation for the children and fur babies in his life. During the remaining ten years of his service to Budget Motors, he could never be seen at an auction without the loyal companionship of his Rottweiler baby girl, Kooter Ann Ulrich. Every evening, before bed, he could be found in the company of his many feline friends, as they watched television together. In the end of his life, when his memory was failing him, and he struggled to maintain awareness, the presence of his grandchildren was always certain to bring a smile to his face and a tear to his eye.
Although his family is greatly pained over their loss of this great man, they are grateful that his suffering is finally over.
Vern is survived by his beloved wife, Tami Jo Carignan Ulrich, his son, John David Ulrich, his daughter and son-in-law, Mary and Justin Sterle, along with their three kids; Rylan, Ryker, and Ryah, and his brother, Virgil Ulrich. Although his passing is incredibly grieved by those who love him, he is now among his parents, Bernetta and Chester Ulrich, his good friend and father-in-law, David Joseph Carignan, his grandbabies, Jesse and Riley Sterle, and his beloved fur baby, Kooter Ann Ulrich.
Visitation will be held at the Hibbing Masonic Lodge 255 at 10:00 am, on Saturday, May 4, 2019, with the service following at 11:00 am. Arrangements are with Range Funeral Home in Hibbing.