Vernon C. Bode, age 86, of Manhattan, Kan., died April 7, 2019, at Meadowlark Hills – Wroten House.

Vernon C. Bode, age 86, of Manhattan, Kan., died April 7, 2019, at Meadowlark Hills – Wroten House.

Vernon was born at home on a farm in West Ely, on Feb. 19, 1933, the son of Godfrey and Laura Bode. The first in his family to earn a college degree, Vernon received a B.S. in Chemistry from the University of Missouri – Columbia, where he met his wife, Emily. He earned a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, did postdoctoral work at Stanford University and then joined the faculty of the University of Maryland – Johns Hopkins, moving to Manhattan in 1970, when he accepted a position as a Professor of Genetics and Molecular Biology at Kansas State University. Vernon was pioneer in molecular genetic research and a part of the research team that discovered the gene that causes PKU.

In May of 1986, Vernon’s brilliant career came to a premature end due to a debilitating stroke that left him with severe aphasia and right-sided paralysis. He handled these challenges with faith, strength, and character, persevering with the love and help of Emily, who became his caregiver. Vernon and Emily moved to Meadowlark Hills Retirement Community in 2003, where he received compassionate care at Miller Place and Wroten House following Emily’s death in 2011.

After his stroke, Vernon learned to paint and draw left-handed. His art became a new avocation and a source of pride and accomplishment. Vernon served in the U.S. Navy, and was an active member of First Lutheran Church.

Vernon is survived by his children, Beth (Greg) Bonney, John (Claudia) Bode, Paul Bode and Ann (Tim) Hodges; his grandchildren, Stephen and Peter Bonney, Clara and Nico Bode, and Jack and Gemma Hodges; his brother, Eldon Bode, his sister, Norma (Rev. Loren) Boettcher, and his sister Dolores (Don) Hudson. Vernon’s wife, Emily, and granddaughter, Emily Jeanne Hodges, predeceased him.

The family will receive friends from 3:30 to 5:00 p.m. Saturday, April 13, at the Meadowlark Hills Community Room, 2121 Meadowlark Road, Manhattan, Kan. 66502.

Memorial services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, April 15, at the Immanuel Lutheran Church, 6510 County Road 263, Hannibal, Mo. 63401, with Reverend Mark Boettcher officiating. Online condolences may be left for the family through the funeral home website at

Memorials are preferred to the KSU Foundation for the Vernon C. Bode Distinguished Biology Research Award Fund and ELCA World Hunger. Contributions may be left in care of the Yorgensen-Meloan-Londeen Funeral Home, 1616 Poyntz Avenue, Manhattan, Kan. 66502.