During his career Vernon also served president of the Society of Editors’ forerunner the Guild of Editors and was awarded the OBE 10 days before his retirement in 1990.
In December 1988, he also oversaw production of the News & Star’s first ever 6am special edition to cover the Lockerbie bombing, which killed 270 people, beating the nationals to the news in the process.
Robin Burgess, chairman of CN Group, which publishes both papers, said: “I remember Vernon with both professional appreciation for his work and as a personal friend. He was a journalist of the old style.
“His qualities led to both the Cumberland News and News & Star receiving several high-level awards.”
Born in Blyth, Northumberland, he went into journalism straight from school in his native North-East but his career was interrupted by National Service between 1948 and 1950.
A year later Vernon moved back to the MEN, becoming assistant editor during his 16-year stint with the paper before moving to Carlisle.
After retiring from journalism he did public relations consultancy work.
His first wife Audrey died in 1988, while his second marriage to Pam Coke ended in divorce in 2013.
Vernon, who died on Christmas Eve, leaves his three sons Dee, Kevin and Nigel.