A Father’s Day Tribute: Vernon PresleyPosted by Elvis Presley's Graceland on Jun 19, 2015 | 6 comments
One of the constants in Elvis Presley’s life was his father, Vernon Presley.
Elvis’ dad was always there, raising his son in Tupelo, supporting his early career in Memphis and working behind the scenes as his son became the King of Rock ‘n’ Roll.
This Father’s Day, on Sunday, June 21, we celebrate Elvis’ father, Vernon Presley.
Jesse D. and Minnie Mae Presley welcomed their son, Vernon Elvis Presley, into the world on April 10, 1916, in Fulton, Mississippi.
As a teenager, Vernon met the lovely Gladys Love Smith at church, and quickly fell in love. The young couple wanted to get married, but a little detail slowed them down: Vernon’s age. He was 17, and Gladys was 21. They changed their ages on their marriage license to say he was 22 and she was 19, and the pair were married in Verona, Mississippi, by a Pontotoc County circuit clerk on June 17, 1933.
Vernon, his brother Vester and their father built a two-room house for the growing Presley family. Gladys gave birth to Elvis (and his twin, Jessie, who was stillborn) on January 8, 1935, in the home.
Vernon worked odd jobs and manual labor to support the family. They never had much money, but they had plenty of love. The Presleys went to church and loved singing gospel music together around the family piano.
Elvis was very close to his mother Gladys, but he was close with Vernon, too.
On Elvis’ 14th birthday, Vernon gave Elvis a paperback book of cartoons by George Price, and he inscribed it: “May your birthday be sprinkled through ‘n through with joy and love and good times too, Daddy.”
Elvis kept this book and brought it with him to Germany when he served there in the Army, but he lost it there.
Elvis was so close with both of his parents that he brought them along for the ride when he became a superstar.
Vernon and Gladys Presley moved in with Elvis when he purchased Graceland in 1957. Vernon managed his son’s business affairs in an office behind the mansion.
Graceland was truly a family home. Vester and Vernon Presley, who worked at the gates of Graceland, often greeted fans at the gates. Elvis’ grandmother (and Vernon’s mother) Minnie Mae lived there, as did Vernon’s sister, Delta, who also helped open Graceland to the public.
Many of the documents pertaining to Graceland and Elvis’ business affairs are signed by Vernon, who took care of such matters so Elvis could concentrate on his career–a clear sign of the trust Elvis had in his father.
Vernon was by Elvis’ side throughout his life and career.
He often traveled with Elvis while he was on tour, and Elvis would even introduce him to the audiences. Vernon would also show up to visit Elvis on movie sets. He was an extra in “Live a Little, Love a Little.”
Vernon Elvis Presley died on June 26, 1979, and he’s buried with Elvis, Gladys and Minnie Mae at the Meditation Garden at Graceland.
While Elvis ruled on the stage and on the screen, it was his father, Vernon, who made it all possible, handling all of the details and business so his son could focus on and enjoy his career. Fans can see Vernon’s business headquarters here at Graceland.
Happy Father’s Day, Vernon Presley.