The family of Vern Hightower is saddened by the loss of a beloved husband, father and grandfather. Vern went to be with the Lord peacefully, surrounded by his wife, children, and stepchildren on Monday, December 26th, 2011 due to complications following a fall. He was 87.
Vern Hightower was born in Erick, Oklahoma on February 20, 1924. He was one of seven children of Lillian and James Hightower. The family migrated to northern California in 1934 during the dust storms in Oklahoma. After high school, Vern enlisted in the U.S. Navy where he served on a minesweeper and received officer training. Although he was encouraged to remain in the military by the navy, he decided that he preferred life as a civilian.
After the War, Vern settled in southern California. He married Patricia Kay Silvera in 1951. They had four children, two girls and two boys before divorcing in 1978.
Vern started work as a bartender and mechanic before landing his first job as a used car salesman in 1952. Encouraged by his success in sales, Vern opened his first car lot in 1955, Brand Boulevard Motors, in Glendale. Proving successful in business as well as sales, Vern opened one of the first Toyota dealership in the area, Hightower Toyota, in La Crescenta in 1967. He was a Toyota dealer for 27 years before selling the franchise.
Vern met Donna Arnold at a church retreat in 1986 and they married shortly thereafter. The couple moved to Newport Beach with Donna’s three children.
After selling Hightower Toyota, Vern and Donna retired to San Clemente where they enjoyed the beach and were active members in their church community.
Vern is survived by his wife, Donna Hightower, his children and stepchildren, Patrice Hightower Miller, Kiley Hightower Lampier, Robert Hightower, Todd Arnold, J. Bradley Hightower, Elisa Rogers, Rebecca Boswell, and sixteen grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 11:00am on Friday, January 20th at Compass Bible Church, 140 Columbia, Aliso Viejo, California. In lieu of flowers, donations to Vern’s favorite charities, Living Word Legacy, 3553 Atlantic Avenue B556, Long Beach, Ca 90807 and Hope for Today, P.O. Box 3927, Tustin, California 92781 would be appreciated.