Verna Kerans Edleson (nee Casserly)
Resident of Webster Groves since 1973
Feb 05, 1907 – July 25, 2010
Oldest Living Maryville Graduate
Verna Kerans Edleson (nee Casserly) died Sunday, July 25th, 2010 at age 103 after suffering a stroke two weeks before.
Verna is believed to be the oldest living graduate of Maryville College, now Maryville University, and graduated in 1928.
For many years, Verna delivered the blessing at the annual Alumni Luncheon held during Homecoming Weekend, and made her final appearance last year, in September 2009.
Verna, a violinist, was a life-long, dues paying member of the American Federation of Musicians, AFL-CIO, and carried a union card until her death.
In the 1930s and 1940s, Verna belonged to a five-member all-girl band, known as the Musical Pirates, which played such local venues as the Missouri Athletic Club and appeared on radio station WEW.
The Musical Pirates also included May Bay, wife of guitar virtuoso Mel Bay, and Lucia Pamela, whose daughter Georgia Frontiere was later the owner of the Saint Louis Rams when the team won the Super Bowl.
Because of this Rams connection, Verna followed the team through good seasons and bad, and attended her final game in 2008, as a guest of Georgia’s children (Chip Rosenbloom and Lucia Rodriguez).
After her first career as a professional musician, Verna turned to teaching in the Normandy School District and served as a third grade instructor at Garfield School in Pine Lawn, Mo, from 1955 to 1974.
Verna was the daughter of James F. Casserly and Alice N. Dougherty. Her parents met at the 1904 World’s Fair (a/k/a Louisiana Exposition) and married one year later.
Her father was a prosperous businessman and Verna was raised in a 34-room mansion at 3651 West Pine, a site now occupied by the Pius XII Library at Saint Louis University.
Growing up close to the Jesuits, the president of the University, Robert Johnston SJ, volunteered to be the celebrant at Verna’s wedding mass in December, 1934, at Saint Francis Xavier Church.
Verna was preceded in death by her first husband, John Kerans in 1956, her second husband, Edward Edleson in 1991, and her longtime companion, Paul Vogel in 2007.
She is survived by daughter Verna Kerans of Webster Groves, son John Kerans of Des Peres, and by eight (8) grandchildren and ten (10) great-grandchildren.
In addition to the Rams, Verna’s passions included the stock market, which she followed daily, and seven-card rummy, typically winning two-out-of three hands against her son.
Visitation for Verna Edleson begins at 10-30 a.m. this Saturday, July 31st, at Saint John Nepomuk church, 11th and Lafayette, followed by a funeral mass at noon, with burial at Resurrection Cemetery.
Celebrant will be the Rev. Paul Spielman, a friend of Verna and the family.