Reprinted with permission

Farewell, Velda DeMoss, founder of a wonderful college football tradition

 / June 17, 2014

RIPPEY, Iowa, July 19, 2014 – When you think about it, this little farm town of 292 hardly seems like a place where you’d find one of the neatest events in college athletics, but I’ve long thought that is the case. And while that event will continue, every-other-year, we lost its grand matron this week with the death from cancer of Velda DeMoss, 74.  She was, in fact, one of the top characters in all of our Greene County.

The first time I met her, 10 years ago when we moved to an acreage near the neighboring town of Cooper, she introduced herself by saying, “They call me the ‘Mouth of Rippey’.”  Of course, I liked her immediately. 

She was the local chatty news correspondent (“Velda’s Varieties”) for area newspapers.  She was president of the Friends Of Rippey community booster club.  She was past-president of the Greene County Historical Society.  A mainstay of the Rippey United Methodist Church, where she was memorialized Thursday afternoon and Friday.  She was a devoted mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister and friend.

And in the fall of 1986, she was the founder of what has become a wonderful tradition of the nationally-known Central College football program from Pella, southeast of Des Moines.  The Flying Dutchmen, as the Central football teams are known, are a perennial power in NCAA Division III and the Iowa Conference.  One of their yearly opponents is Buena Vista University from Storm Lake in northwest Iowa. 

After one of Velda’s four sons, Marc DeMoss, started playing for Central in 1982, the family began following the team to the Central-BV games.  Every other year when the game was played in Storm Lake, finding a good, quick meal for the Central players on the 180-mile trip back to Pella was always a challenge. 

Velda DeMoss came up with the idea of having the Rippey Methodists — who’ve always been known for their hospitality and outstanding cooks — prepare and serve Central’s team meal after their football game in Storm Lake.  Every other fall for 28 years now, they’ve served up heaping platters or bowls of roast beef or pork, ham, potatoes, gravy, vegetables, salads and more homemade pies than you can imagine.  

What small town church would dare try to feed a traveling college football squad?  DeMoss knew the Rippey Methodists could do it, and indeed they have. 

By the time of the first supper in 1986, there was another Central student from Rippey involved in the football program.  Linda Borgeson was a student manager for the team, and she also played basketball and was a softball manager for the Dutch.  So DeMoss drafted her great friend Jean Borgeson, Linda’s mother, to help with the meal.  Later Vernon and Alice Fritz volunteered to help when their daughter Alice was going to Central, and ditto for Mary and Gary Weaver when their son David was a student there.  Schyler Bardole, also from Rippey, is on the Central team now, so lots of Bardoles are helping with the meal, too.

Printed with permission

by Toni Roberts friend, fellow choir member,quilter

 Velda Josephine DeMoss was a unique, charismatic, funny person with a great ability to lead others. She carried on the Derry family tradition of support and leadership for the Rippey Methodist church in many ways--Lay Leader, Sunday School teacher, board member, choir member, Ladies Aid president, Skilled Quilter and of later years, Head Kitchen Lady!  As Chief Cook—who can forget the delicious Roast Beef dinners or home made noodles that she oversaw.  She could keep all the “chefs” happy and delegate mundane duties so well that you thought you were doing the job you actually wanted to do!  As the pro tem leader for Ladies Aid and the quilting group, she managed to keep all the organization of dinners and quilt jobs  straight without ruffling anyone’s feathers—which was no small feat!  She lent her accomplished vocal talent to the tenor section and was also sometimes guilty of contributing to some of the rowdiness in that back row section!
      She was funny!  Where ever Velda held court—her story telling ability was sure to please!  And she was not above poking fun at herself. Such as naming our water aerobics group—the Chunky Dunkers as  we actually would raise the water level several inches when the group jumped in!
     Velda and I were often mistaken for each other and when asked how her “husband’s” knee surgery went—she replied “He’s not my husband but the surgery went fine”!  Thus she became known as wife #2 and later vied with Jean who became wife #3.  Velda enjoyed the joke and all the confusion it caused!
       She was popular but not at the expense of some one else’s’ feelings.  As “Queen Bee” of the Rippey Red Hat Ladies—it soon became the Greene County Red Hat Group as everyone who knew her wanted to be a part of the same group!
     She was the instigator of the “Friends of Rippey”group for community betterment.  As its president she worked long and hard on the many projects for the betterment of her local community.  Here again she was able to handle the many duties and assuage the members to bring about the fulfillment of major projects such the Rippey Bike trail, the new Rippey Library, and the community center.  She was a faithful member of the Library Trustees board and supported all the library activities---participating in book discussions (even when she didn’t get the book read),helping at the children’s programs, always ready to bring her renown chocolate chip cheese ball  for refreshments and a fierce and cagey competitor in the annual soup contest!   She gave me the moral support I needed to face some stressful times as librarian.
       Her knowledge of the Rippey history of the former school alumni made her tenure as the secretary of the Rippey Alumni group the best ever!  Rippey history was very important for her and she was known in the county for her work with the Greene County Historical Society.  She even portrayed her great great grandmother at the Pleasant Hill Cemetery walk!
      Velda was many things to many people.  She was my friend—my BFF—as she was to many of us!  She gave a part of her “light” to all who knew her---let’s keep it shining!
 Love ya girlfriend!

Printed with permission

Across the Field:
Tribute to Velda DeMoss, 1940-2014

Across the field the house stands tall,
Surrounded by the peaks of green,
A neighbor, leader, friend to all.

A pillar of strength and love,
Welcoming friends new and old,
As we lived across the field.

Across the field generations came,
Grandparents, parents, mother and sons.
Others joined as family and friends.

Life threw some curves,
She tossed them back,
Struggling along the way.

She journeyed through the cancer maze,
With dignity and grace,
Living fully as time allowed.

Her family, friends, church and community
Will miss her humor, love, and care.
The pain and loss linger on.

Across the field and far beyond,
The lives she touched will move along,
Her memory forever strong.

Nancy Bardole Hanaman
July 15, 2014
Rippey, Iowa

Velda would have been overwhelmed at the out-pouring of kindness and support for her family and friends. As one of her friends, I thank you. Jean B.