Of Italian and French descent, Vernon J. Lepre, Sr. was born in Biloxi, MS to Armand and Beulah Parker Lepre. At the age of 14, Vernon began working with his father to help support the family. This work taught him the trade of shrimping and boating operations which culminated in his lifelong career in the seafood industry.
On August 29, 1943, Vernon married Dorothy Beaugez, daughter of John and Cornelia Fountain Beaugez. Together, they raised three children, Vernon Jr., Marylyn and Barbara and remained married until Dorothy’s death in 1984.
Vernon supported his family for many years working for Southern Shell Factory as captain of the Mary Evelyn. When the shrimping season was closed, Vernon would continue working in other aspects of the seafood industry by freighting, dredging and tonging oysters. Onboard the Mary Evelyn, he caught pogey fish for the Pascagoula and Bluff Creek Vancleave cat food plants. Capt. Lepre worked for Southern Shell under the management of Chester Delacruz until the factory closed in the early 1940’s.
Continuing his work in the industry, Vernon worked for Mike Sekul, first as captain of the Ruth F, then later working within the factory founded by Sekul, Gulf Central Seafood, Inc. For greater than fifty years, Vernon Lepre was able to support his family with his hard work and dedication to the seafood industry that he loved and often referred to as “a good clean life”.
In his later years, Vernon operated the Sailfish Tour Boat for Joe Thornton, owner of the Factory Restaurant in Biloxi. As his health challenged him, he went on to serve in the maintenance department at Biloxi Regional Medical Center until he was no longer able to work. Of Capt. Vernon Lepre’s long life of 89 years and 7 months, his greatest fulfillment was his ability to provide for his family in the seafood industry so dear to his heart.