Vernon L. Middlebrook, 85, of Salem, AL died peacefully surrounded by his family on Wednesday, May 24, 2023. Most people knew him as Vince, his family knew him as Poppy, Daddy, or Vern, and he was also known as “Double Zero” back in his days as a cabbie. He was a U. S. Army Veteran and a member of Concord Baptist Church in Salem.
A Celebration of Life will be held from 4:00 PM till 6:00 PM (EST) on Saturday, June 10, 2023, at Vance Brooks Funeral Home, Phenix City, AL. Interment in Ft. Mitchell National Cemetery will follow at a later date.
Mr. Middlebrook was born on New Year’s Day in 1938, in Philadelphia, PA. He grew up roaming the streets of Philly until his brother helped him pass the Army entrance exam; after joining he eventually got stationed at Fort Benning where he fell in love with the South.
Mr. Middlebrook was a keen businessman and an entrepreneur at heart, he could sell ice to an Eskimo, and in-fact working was his favorite pastime. Once he got out of the Army, he started out selling shoes at a clothing store in downtown Columbus, then onto various other goods and services, the Railroad, and later he ended up graduating from Hamburger University and becoming a manager at McDonalds. Despite only making it through the 3rd grade, he overcame every obstacle and always came out ahead; he started and ran countless businesses throughout the years; he really did do it all. He always found a way to outsmart the competition and come out on top each and every time. He was best known for his Independent Cab Company and Veterans Cab Service, which he started in Phenix City and Columbus.
Vince enjoyed talking on the phone to his family and longtime friends morning, noon, and night. He loved a good green salad with ranch dressing but no croutons, a hamburger steak with the gravy on the side, and his mashed potatoes were never hot enough when he got them, not even once. When he needed a break he would jump on the lawnmower and cut grass for hours on end as a way to relax. He loved Dr. Pepper Cream Soda and he wouldn’t turn down a chocolate milkshake for the world. He enjoyed hunting and was a big movie buff too; he could tell you every actor and their history and he could quote every Western ever made line for line. He also loved his animals with his whole heart.
He will be missed in our daily routine, but never forgotten. His countless pieces of advice, his willingness to help anyone with all that he had, his priceless guidance over the years, and his warm love will always be in our hearts.
Mr. Middlebrook went home with Christ to join his wife of 46 years, Sharon Stewart Middlebrook whom he missed dearly each day since her passing in 2021. He was also preceded in death by his parents, and his many brothers; Richie and Ronnie, Bruce, and Carl; as well as Sharon’s parents, Robert Lee Stewart and Nina Belle Davis Stewart, whom he loved dearly as his own; and his beloved dog “3G”.
Survivors include his children, Robbie Defruscio and husband Chris, Sherry Lifsey and husband Steve, Stewart James Lawson and wife Amy, and Vincent LaDon Middlebrook; his grandson, whom he raised as his own and was a 2nd father to, Stewart Cole Lawson and wife Samantha; beloved granddaughter Abbey Lawson Toland and husband John Paul; grandchildren Chad Lifsey, Brandi Dekker, Britney Smith, and Logan Middlebrook. Great grandchildren John Greyson Toland, Chase Dekker, Luke Lifsey, Jake Lifsey, Jett Smith, Haven Smith, and Britton Middlebrook; half-brother Wayne; his faithful dog “Sheeba” and cat “Meanness”; and countless nieces, nephews, and friends. What a remarkable life he lived.