Verda M. Alitz, a forty year resident of West Point, NY and, later, Hopewell Junction, NY, passed away on April 6, 2019 at the Sapphire Nursing Meadow Hill facility in Newburgh, NY. She was 99.
Daughter of Gerhardt and Katrina Roben, Verda was born September 9, 1919 on the family farm near Sheffield, Iowa, where she spent much of her youth with her brothers, Arthur and Glen, and her sister Ada. Verda was educated at a rural school – to which she traveled 3 miles by horse drawn carriage - and graduated from Rockwell High School in 1937. She was known for her proficiency in many sports and at least one competing high school sought to recruit her to play softball. She refused that offer, but she continued to play softball into her young adulthood, including as a utility player on a women's travel team
In 1940, she married Leroy Alitz and initially resided in Iowa and Minnesota. Verda's family, like so many of that era, was dramatically impacted by World War II. Leroy enlisted in the Navy and served on an aircraft carrier, while Verda raised their two boys, Douglas and Dennis, and held down several jobs, including positions at a bank, at the Younkers department store, and at the Rockwell Creamery. After WW II, she and Leroy both continued their educations at Iowa Teacher's College, now UNI, with Verda pursuing a teaching certificate. With that degree, Verda taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Orchard, Iowa, population 115. When Leroy began his teaching/coaching career in Osage, Iowa, Verda and the family moved to that town, where a daughter, Diann, joined Verda's growing, but not yet complete family.
In 1954, Leroy accepted a position as wrestling coach at the United States Military Academy, West Point, NY, and Verda and the family began a new, enduring chapter in their lives. Though there were adjustments to living "out East", Verda quickly took to the life of a West Point coach's wife. She became active in the local church and served as the treasurer of the West Point Thrift Shop. She also started her several decades of domination of multiple bowling leagues at the West Point Lanes, leading all women bowlers in both single game and average scores. Verda hosted innumerable cadet wrestlers and their families, providing her residence as a respite from the rigors of the Academy. She enjoyed attending Army wrestling matches, but she also soon became an equally committed supporter of the Army football team. Even though the Army team sometimes struggled, she never lost faith.
Shortly after arriving at West Point, another son, Curtis, was born and, five years later, Jeffrey closed out the line. Verda took great pride in her family and all of her children will attest to the fact that their motivation to succeed in life was inspired as much by their mother as by their father. Two of her sons graduated from West Point, further strengthening her bond to that institution. Consistent with that bond, Verda took an administrative post at USMA's Association of Graduates, where she worked until her late 70s, helping to raise funds from graduates for the benefit of current and future cadets. She loved her job and the connections it afforded her to West Point and the Army.
After Leroy's retirement in 1994, he and Verda moved to Hopewell Junction, NY, where they lived until Leroy passed away in 2006, after 66 years of marriage. Verda's life was fulfilling. Though she maintained her love of her home state of Iowa, she was deeply committed to her life in New York, especially her relationship with West Point. She not only raised her family there, but she was well aware of the importance of the Academy and took pride in her service to its graduates. Verda's life was also blessed. She endured as her husband went to World War II, her oldest son went to Vietnam, and her third son went to Iraq and Afghanistan and then she rejoiced when they all returned. Most important to her, she successfully raised five children and watched as they surrounded her with many grand and great- grandchildren.
Verda is survived by her daughter, Diann, and her husband, Bill, of Trumbull, CT, her four sons, Douglas and wife, Maggie, of Newcomb, NY, Dennis and wife, Linda, of Chelmsford, MA, Curtis and wife, Debbie, of Charlottesville, VA, and Jeffrey and wife, Katie, of Charlestown, MA, 10 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. She will also be dearly missed by her sister-in-law, LoRee Kulhavy (Leroy's twin), her nieces and nephews and her many friends. Verda was pre-deceased by her parents, her husband, Leroy, and by her brothers, Arthur and Glen, and her sister, Ada Witte.