Vernon Barkstall was born August 23, 1929, at Cincinnati, Ohio. He was the son of Nelson and Naomi Barkstall, Sr.
Mr. Barkstall was educated in the Columbus, Ohio public school system. After serving in the U. S. Military, he received his Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Education at the Ohio State University. He completed classes toward a doctoral degree at the University of Illinois. He was a scholar-athlete at Ohio State. He played basketball and baseball and was elected captain of the baseball team in 1958.
On June 9, 1957, he married Carol Benton in Columbus, Ohio. To this union was born two sons and two daughters.
In 1966, Vernon came to Urbana-Champaign, to help Champaign Countians deal with racism. He became the Director of The Urban League of Champaign County, serving for 28 years. He also served on the founding committees of the Don Moyer Boys and Girls Club, the Champaign County Opportunities Industrialization Center, and the Frances Nelson Health Center. He was a board member of the Concerned Citizens for a Better Commerce, charter board member of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce, and board member and a past Vice President of the Champaign-Urbana Convention and Visitors Bureau.
He was a long-time member of the NAACP and a member of the American Legion Post 559 of Champaign. He was a senior-active member of the Champaign Rotary and was a Paul Harris Fellow. He was also a member of the Illinois Community Action Association. Barkstall Elementary School was named in his honor.
Vernon Barkstall passed away on October 24, 1995.