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 (alz.org), as she bravely battled this disease over the last decade.