Margaret “Peggy” Verna

Margaret Mary Teresa O’Dell Verna, beloved wife, mother and grandmother, passed away peacefully in her sleep on April 17, 2017, from complications of her 10 year battle with Alzheimer’s disease.  She was 83.

Peggy, as she was called by all who knew her, was born in Philadelphia, PA on October 8, 1933 and was one of two children born to Margaret Kelly O’Dell. Peggy was raised in a Catholic orphanage until the age of 14, and was able to come home when her mother married her step-father Don Cranmer. From Day One her step-father called her ‘Angel,’ and that nick name stuck until his passing.

She was a graduate of West Catholic Girls High School and went on to be the first female draftsmen at Westinghouse, foretelling the inherited math and “attention to details” skills that brought about a couple of engineers and math whizzes in the family.

Peggy was an avid dancer, even appearing on American Bandstand before it went national. At a Catholic dance she met Joseph Verna, also from Philadelphia, another smooth dancer!  After 5 attempts to get her to marry him, he finally succeeded in getting a “yes” from her.  They have been married for 58 years.   When they married, Joe was in the Air Force; in the first 26 years of marriage, they moved 21 times and had 4 children.  She took to this life with open arms.  At times it was difficult, with Joe gone on tours for the Air Force and kids to raise, so she ran a tight ship – Joe was the Colonel at work, but Peggy was the General at home. She knew first-hand how difficult it was to be a military wife, but when Joe was home they were a strong unit, tackling life’s ups and downs with a lot of love and laughter throughout. No one could make Peg giggle like Joe could; the attraction was always there to see.  They would often move the kitchen table out of the way so they could dance to the oldies music station with the kids looking on and cheering.  She had a hundred different smiles that meant everything from “I know what you did” to a simple “I love you”.

 As her children were not always aware of her struggles, she made sure they were all happy, loved and worry- free when Joe was away.  She loved music of all kinds and taught her children to love music, too.  She often made the kids clothes, as she was an excellent seamstress. She loved the beach but couldn’t swim a stroke; she made sure all her kids knew how to swim!  The kids swam competitively for years, while Peg and Joe participated in the running of these swim meets, as well as being the loudest cheerleaders there!  In fact, every sport, game, and event was attended by Peg and Joe – the ultimate supporters.

Peggy worked on and off throughout the years at Riggs Bank, Penemco, Interstate VanLines and Kodiak.

This is a woman who always saw the best in others; occasionally, Peggy would bring home a stranger for dinner who she felt needed a lift in life. She loved whispering funny things at inappropriate times and making us all laugh. She could stretch a dollar farther than you thought possible, as she had four kid’s needs to attend to.  She earned a few nicknames from her children over the years; behind the wheel she was the “lead-footed speed demon,” a particular favorite of the kids.

Peggy loved her family as fiercely and fully as a warrior. She believed in going to church every week and the kids going to CCD. She believed in home-cooked family meals and the ultimate family unit.  She would do and did anything for her husband and children. Peggy was a “do-gooder” in the truest sense of the word.  She was sentimental and practical, world-wise and smart. She loved a good laugh and laughed as often as possible! Loved by so many and missed by all!

Peggy is survived by her husband, Joseph B. Verna, and their daughters, Danielle Verna, Nicole Verna DeBruin, and Christine Blasiole; their son, Vincent Verna; her son-in-law, Louie Blasiole, and her daughter-in-law, Stacie Verna. She has seven grandchildren, Ashley and Nicholas Blasiole, Delaney and Joseph DeBruin, and Taylor, Leah and Addison Verna.

Mrs. Margaret Verna will be interred with her husband upon his passing at Arlington National Cemetery.

Friends received Friday, April 28th, 2017 from 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM at Advent Funeral and Cremation Services, 7211 Lee Highway, Falls Church, VA 22046.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Saturday April 29th, 2017 at 11:00 AM at the Church of the Nativity, 6400 Nativity Lane, Burke, VA.  Following the Mass there will be a “Celebration of Life” event at Trummers, 7134 Main Street, Clifton, VA from 12:30 PM to 3:00 PM.   Hope you can join our family in celebrating Peggy’s life with food, drink and memories!  

Peggys’s generosity and belief in helping others was strong, so we ask in lieu of flowers please make a contribution to the Alzheimer Association (, as she bravely battled this disease over the last decade.  



9 Responses to Margaret “Peggy” Verna

  1. Ann Marie Gordon says:

    To All of the Verna Family,

    I am so saddened to hear of the loss of Mom Verna. She was such a special lady. She was funny, loving and was always so pulled together and always looked so nice. I remember some really funny stories that she told when I was over at your house when all of us kids were growing up on Kentford Drive. She is such a special person and will be greatly missed by so many.

    My love and prayers are with all of you. Mom Verna now has no pain or suffering and is watching over all of you with love and laughter – this I know for certain! And, she is dancing in Heaven!

    May you find peace at this difficult time and find comfort in knowing so many love Mom Verna and all of the Verna family.

    Love, Ann Marie Gordon

    • Danielle says:

      Ann, that’s so much for your wonderful memories of Mom and heartfelt words ……. she so LOVED you like a daughter and like Mom did with so many of our friends she cherished you as her own, and as such, you too were Daughter Number ‘XX’ 🙂 Mom seemed to adopt EVERYONE, whether they needed or wanted it, yes, she just adopted you and proudly announced you as, ‘Ok you are Daughter Number ‘XX’ 🙂 ……. that was just mom ……. open arms for everyone 🙂 Oh she will be sorely missed by so many and leaves a hole in the hearts of many but that hole should be filled with wonderful fun-filled happy memories, loving, dancing, giggling, soccer-swimming-basketball-field hockey-softball days, Springfield, Hunt Valley, Washington Irving, WSHS, just all the great days, months and years we all spent together growing up as families in Springfield ………. Thanks Again for sharing your memories of Mom as she truly loved you like a Verna kid 🙂 Love, Danielle

  2. Stephanie Simpson says:

    Danielle, so loved spending time with you and your fam in the backyard on Virginia St! Your Mom and my Mom would look at each other with raised eyebrows when we would sing songs together. Such a lovely lady. Mom’s been gone 6 years this July; i never have a day without her in my thoughts. But they are happy thoughts. I pray you and your family focus on the happy and the loving…good memories. God bless!

    • Danielle says:

      Thanks so much Steph …… the fun we had on VA Street – still miss you not being here. Our moms sure did get a ‘kick’ out of their ‘adult’ daughters just being kids and truly laughing at us singing, of all things ‘The Carpenters Greatest Hits’ at our neighborhood bar-b-ques at my house, and I might add singing oh so poorly but making up for it by doing so loudly 🙂 entertaining all of our neighbors ……. and our Mom’s especially, perhaps wondering ……. where did they go wrong with us, but in the same breath I could see their love and pure joy pouring out of them as they giggled their heads off at us enjoying themselves with us 🙂 🙂 🙂 Oh the silliness and great fun we had. I am so thrilled our moms got to know one another and share their life stories with each other !!!!!! LOVE YOU …….. Danielle

  3. Donna Pepe Rotsted says:

    Beautifully written about a beautiful woman,mother, and wife. My prayers are out to you and your family

  4. Robert McCabe says:

    My mother, Barbara Verna, was raised in a Catholic orphanage, she also danced on American Bandstand before it went national, and she too graduated from West Catholic so I’m sure she crossed paths with your mom. Peggy sounds like a wonderful person and I’m truly sorry for your loss. I will make a donation in her name.

    • Danielle says:

      Thanks so much Robert for your kind and thoughtful words and also for your generosity in making a donation on behalf of my mom.

  5. Donna Gallup says:

    Danielle so very sorry for your loss it is so hard to lose a parent cherish all the wonderful beautiful memories they will last a lifetime May God Bless you & your family in this difficult time

  6. Danielle says:

    Donna thank you and Mark for thinking of me and my family and taking the time to reach out to post here ……. this means the world to me. We are all so very heartbroken and saddened but also, as you mentioned, remembering and sharing not only great fun & funny stories of the amazingly wonderful life mom created for our family, but in addition we all truly recognize she was the ‘glue and backbone’ of our family that filled our home, hearts and lives with love. Mom was our safe place to land in life …… she will be forever missed and never forgotten. Love, Danielle

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