News & Reviews News In Memoriam: LaVerne F. Bleifuss

In Memoriam: LaVerne F. Bleifuss

By Cody Grivno | March 27, 2023

Former art director laid out more than 3,000 articles for Model Railroader

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Photo of man wearing necktie with model trains in foreground.
In Memoriam: LaVerne F. Bleifuss. If you read Model Railroader between 1960 and 2000, you saw the work of this man. LaVerne Bleifuss, who passed away on March 1, 2023, laid out more than 3,000 articles for the magazine. Kalmbach Media photo

LaVerne F. (Vern) Bleifuss, former art director for Model Railroader magazine, died on March 1, 2023. He was 87 years old.

LaVerne was born April 30, 1935 in the village of Summit, Wis. After graduation from Oconomowoc High School, he attended the Layton School of Art, receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree. Following his honorable discharge after four years in the United States Army, LaVerne began a 40-year career with Kalmbach Publishing Co. He worked at 1027 N. 7th Street in Milwaukee and at our current headquarters in Waukesha.

Black-and-white photo of people standing in front of steam engine.
LaVerne Bleifuss, second from left, was part of a group of Trains magazine staffers taking a closer look at Union Pacific Big Boy No. 4017 as it passed through Milwaukee on its way to the National Railroad Museum in Green Bay in 1961. Also shown from left are Gordon Odegard (later an MR associate editor), Rosemary Entringer (managing editor), Bob Wegner (layout and art), Charles Kalmbach (Al Kalmbach’s son), David P. Morgan (editor), Ted Rose (layout and art, later a renowned railroad artist), Al Kalmbach (MR’s founder), Larry Luser (layout and art), and Gil Reid (layout and art, also a renowned railroad artist). Kalmbach Media photo

LaVerne worked on MR and several other Kalmbach titles during his tenure with the company. It’s estimated that he laid out more than 3,000 MR stories in his four decades at Kalmbach. In addition to his duties in the Art Department, LaVerne was part of the crew that worked on the original and current versions of the HO scale Milwaukee, Racine & Troy (MR&T) staff layout.

Black-and-white photo of two men building benchwork.
LaVerne Bleifuss (right) and former MR editor and publisher Russ Larson work on benchwork for the new Milwaukee, Racine & Troy in the early 1990s. Though it looks like Russ is drilling through LaVerne’s hand, it’s just an optical illusion. Kalmbach Media photo

LaVerne retired from Kalmbach on April 28, 2000. In the July 2000 MR, former associate editor Melanie Buellesbach wrote, “He was a diligent worker with a great eye for detail, and he will be missed.” LaVerne was a regular visitor to Kalmbach in retirement. He was well known for bringing in homemade rosettes during the holiday season. He also enjoyed seeing the latest activity on the MR&T.

LaVerne is survived by four children, 15 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren, and one great-great grandchild.

2 thoughts on “In Memoriam: LaVerne F. Bleifuss

  1. My condolences to his family and friends, he will be missed. I know when I was reading the Dec 1994 MR, there was a VAN on the Soo Line layout, was that his work?

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