Verna Rose Anderson passed away on September 28, 2012 at the age of 92. She was born on May 3, 1920 in Pittsburg, PA to Edward and Freda Fiedler. She was a lifelong violinist and played with the LA Women's Philharmonic at the age of 16 and with her church until the time of her death. Verna was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Vincent E. Anderson; son, Vincent C. Anderson; survived by her daughters, Jill Heitman, her husband Larry, and Janet Lynn Keen; son, Kirt E. Anderson, his wife Nancy; sister, Freda Curtiss; 11 grandchildren; and 8 great-grandchildren. A visitation will held on Monday, October 1, 2012 from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. at Colonial Funeral Home. Funeral Service will be held on Tuesday, October 2, 2012 at 9:30 A.M. at Trinity Church 5415 North Loop 1604 E San Antonio, TX 78247. Interment will follow at 11:00 A.M. at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery. In lieu of flowers make any donations to Trinity Church in honor of Verna R. Anderson.
Home Coming Celebration
I am Larry Heitman, married to Verna's daughter, Jill. On behalf of Verna Anderson's family, welcome to the celebration of the life of a woman we dearly loved and admired. Verna Rose was born on May 5th, 1920 in Pittsburgh, PA to Edward and Freda Fiedler and passed into the arms of her Lord and Savior early on September 28th, 2012. While those dates that are etched into the plaque that marks the resting of Mom's earthly body are important, they are not nearly as important as the "dash" that separates them. For the "dash" in her life, as it is in all of our lives, marks the days that demonstrate how well she invested the "talents" given to her by the Master. And through the memories of Verna's (4) children, (3) children through marriage, (11) grandchildren, (9) g grandchildren and friends, you will see how pleased our Lord must be in how Verna Rose invested her life. For in her living, she invested into each one the love of the Lord. And through her acts of kindness and love we saw Jesus. And we learned from her how to live a Christian life.
Mom was blessed with many, many talents. She was brilliant, gifted as a leader and organizer, disciplined, filled with enthusiasm and compassion, and had the courage of a lion. Instead of utilizing these gifts to pursue worldly pleasures she chose wisely to follow a higher calling whose rewards are eternal. Mom's desires in life were to Love the Lord with all of her heart and her family and to love others, to become like Jesus and to glorify God.
Mom was a woman of fervent, powerful prayer and a woman who loved to spend time with the Lord in reading His Word and listening to His voice. She didn't pompously preach to us but would humbly share with us what God was saying to her or doing in her life. My time with mom was early in the morning. Both of us were early risers. I would make the coffee and wait for her to finish her time with the Lord. We would then talk and she would sometimes share with me these sweet and intimate encounters with Jesus. What a treasure these moments were.
Many of you began a relationship with Verna in 1970 when she and her beloved husband Vince moved to Universal City and settled into their home on Taurus Street. But before that time she had already lived a full and rewarding life.
In 1923, her parents moved from Pittsburgh to Los Angeles, CA
Mother's life was filled with camping with the family, family games, school, music and church.
Many know that Verna was an accomplished violinist. So, you won't be surprised to know that:
At age 16, mom was asked to become a member of the Ladies Los Angeles Philharmonic which was a great
honor to her family.
And first chair of her high school orchestra
And she and her father who played the piano and led a band would perform together at many affairs.
Most of her life was centered around the Church
As a teenager, Verna sang the song that was inspired by Romans 12:1,2
Rom 12:1-2 "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will.
The Holy Spirit spoke through these verses and it touched Verna's heart.
Later, she wrote that she meant every word!!
Furthermore, she wrote that she "knew with a knowing this was my desire" to give her life as a living sacrifice to God.
Later she met a handsome young man, Vincent E Anderson, in her church youth group. Mom was a leader even at an early age organizing and getting people together; a trait that carried on throughout her life.
And after Vincent returned from the War on November 18, 1945, they were married and settled into their home on Ruth Ellen Street in LA
There, Jill Elizabeth and Vincent Craig were born
When the Korean War heated up, Vincent joined the Air Force and was quickly sent to Korea. And mom threw herself into managing the family while he was gone.
In 1952 Vincent was reassigned to a base in New Jersey and there Kirt Edward was born
In 1955 Vincent was reassigned to Sheepshead Bay, NY where Janet Lynn was born
And in 1960, he and the family were reassigned to Ankara, Turkey
An incident upon their return gave insight into what was important to Mom
1/3rd of their worldly possessions were lost in transit.
Mom did not fret or worry because worldly goods held no importance to Verna. She had Jesus and her family and that was what she valued. Throughout the years, we saw this over and over as she invested her money into:
The work of the Lord with her tithe to the church, many offerings to Billy Graham, 700 Club, TBN and many other ministries where God was involved such as the provision of safe well water for a village in Thimmapur, India that Verna funded.
What we appreciated is that even on a limited budget; mom was a good saver and was able to invest well into God's kingdom. Mom followed Jesus and she did what He did whether it was in giving to the hungry, to the thirsty, to the naked, visiting those who were sick.
And with her children mom and dad invested. They saw to it that all of their children graduated from college.
In 1962, the family was assigned to Amarillo AFB in Texas. It was here in her morning devotion while reading Philippians Chapters 1 and 2 that the Lord spoke to Mom in a "mighty way". Mom later wrote that "The love of God for me was overwhelming. It was like I was born again! Yet my whole life was centered in the church and I loved Jesus but there was a depth of love that was new."
In 1969, the family was on the move again as Vincent was assigned to a base in Madrid, Spain.
Verna was active in leadership in the Protestant Women of the Chapel while Vincent was in the military
But in Spain she held her highest responsibility when asked to assume the role of President of the Spain/Morocco Protestant Women and a leader in the European Council of Women.
In December of 1970 with the failing health of Verna's parents, she immediately returned to Los Angeles to care for them. Vince and the children soon followed. With their passing the family moved to San Antonio in summer of 1971.
On September 26th, 1972, a horrific tragedy struck our family as Verna and Vince's eldest son, Vincent Craig, an Air Force pilot gave his life to save troops hemmed in by enemy fire while serving in Vietnam. Craig, a graduate from Texas A&M who earned an Aerospace Engineering degree was the finest Christian man I have ever known. When his personal possessions were gathered, his Bible was found open on his cot.
It was during this time that God greatly comforted Verna as she read his Word.
The Lord reminded her that Craig was clothed with his heavenly dwelling and that God GUARANTEED (underlined in her Bible) what is to come. (2 Cor 5:1-9)
Jesus comforted her with His words from John 14. "Do not let your hearts be troubled. "Trust in God, trust also in me. In my Father's house are many rooms; if it were no so, I would have told you. I am going there to prepare a place for you. I will come back and take you to be with me that you also be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going."
And Verna made sure that all of her loved ones knew Jesus was the way and the truth and the life. And that no one comes to the Father except through Jesus.
Mom reached her family for Jesus and others that God led her to through love.
When you met Verna, you could feel the love in her voice, the love in her eyes and in the undivided attention that she gave each person.
Many times I remember seeing her holding both hands of a person she was engaged with and speaking to them with intense love and kindness.
She welcomed people into her home for many occasions. For almost 15 years, she and Vincent hosted a home ministry on Sunday evenings. Being in Verna's presence was a treat because you felt loved, accepted for who you were with an enthusiasm that spoke volumes.
Of course, her family members saw her love demonstrated in many ways.
Mom started making Christmas gifts the week after Christmas Day and worked year round.
Each gift was made with love and great care for that specific loved one.
Those gifts have become some of our most cherished possessions.
The robe she made for me; warm and comforting and in my favorite color, blue
Each time I travel and slip my shoes into the shoe covers she made, I think of mom.
And the mountains of comforters that she crocheted and the blankets she patched together were all custom-made with the loved one's favorite color, size and pattern.
And each child has many different Christmas decorations that are works of art.
But this was not the only way that mom demonstrated her love.
She deeply loved her sister Freda and they talked long distance every day for over 25 years.
She invested many, many hours with each child, grandchild and g grandchild
And she wrote tons of letters. One granddaughter recalls that no matter where she was, grandma found her and wrote to her.
Mom was a huge help to us as we were raising our families.
She would be at a child's side helping to paint walls or their furniture and even reupholstering furniture. Or she might be in the kitchen preparing meals. Or she might watch our children while we were on a couple's only vacation.
One of her grandson's recalled the special breakfasts at Grandma's; eggs, bacon, pancakes, milk, orange juice and apple juice prepared for him and his three brothers. Mom knew what these boys liked and loved to please.
She and Vincent would travel to Houston frequently to spend time with family and then onto Beaumont to invest more of her life with family. And later onto New Mexico when Kirt and Nancy moved there.
And encouraged as if by an invisible hand to invest into the lives of her loved ones and to enjoy their fellowship, she traveled even by herself until 90 years of age.
And mom did not spend her time carelessly. It always had purpose.
She never intruded as our Lord does not intrude or press Himself upon us
But most of all, we looked forward to her trips to see us. And we wanted her to stay longer.
Mom even extended her love to the parents of her children's spouses and to the spouses of her grandchildren. Verna loved each person as Jesus loves us.
As Mom matured as a Christian, she strove to become one with the Father and Jesus as our Lord calls us to in John Chapter 17. It was instructional for us to observe her remorse over something small like losing her temper; something that we didn't see and would have certainly overlooked in ourselves. She would be so earnestly repentant that it humbled us. But Mother was so involved in a Holy Communion with our Holy Father and our Savior that she was so very sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Her desire was truly to be more like Jesus. Her example inspired us to strive for this sincere holiness and Oneness with the trinity that she enjoyed.
And in truly keeping with her spirit, she even wrote about today to comfort us and bring us into the reality of this day. "Above all", she wrote, "it's a celebration of going home and being with my savior and Lord Jesus."
We are grateful to this church for your love for and encouragement to mom. We are grateful to God for placing us into her family. We are grateful to Jesus, her Savior. We are grateful for the Holy Spirit who formed her into the image of the one she dearly loved, Jesus.
Finally…We are confident that as the Master welcomed mom into His arms, He said, "Verna, well done, good and faithful servant. Come and share your Master's happiness!