Reprinted with permission
Farewell, Velda DeMoss, founder of a wonderful college football tradition
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 permissionby 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!
Printed with permission
Across the Field:
Across the field the house stands tall,
A pillar of strength and love,
Across the field generations came,
Life threw some curves,
She journeyed through the cancer maze,
Her family, friends, church and community
Across the field and far beyond,
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.