Mary Ellen Verdeur, 88, church, school volunteer

Mary Ellen Verdeur
Mary Ellen Verdeur
Posted: January 17, 2014

At St. Joan of Arc School in Marlton, Mary Ellen Cermack Verdeur spent more than a decade volunteering as a teaching assistant with kindergartners.

From the early 2000s to June 2013, a few days a week, she helped "teach their letters, teach their numbers," her son Mark said.

"She really loved that," he said.

On Sunday, Jan. 12, Mrs. Verdeur, 88, of Marlton, died of complications from Alzheimer's disease at the Kresson View Center in Voorhees.

Her husband, Joseph, won a gold medal in swimming at the London Olympic Games in 1948, held several world and U.S. swimming records, and coached the men's swimming team at Temple University.

Since the 1960s, besides helping her husband run a swimming pool supply firm, she often spent her days volunteering at schools.

Born at home in Philadelphia, Mrs. Verdeur grew up near 20th and Dickinson Streets and graduated from John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls' High School.

After secretarial training at Hallahan, her son said, "she worked for the Marine Corps, as secretary to a general at the Marine depot," at Broad Street and Washington Avenue.

While her growing family lived in Bala Cynwyd, Mrs. Verdeur was a volunteer at St. Matthias School there, from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s.

"It's where we all went. We just walked to the school," her son said. "Most of the time, I would see her in the library," which was run by the mothers. "So when she was there, she was running the library."

Mrs. Verdeur also "did a lot of volunteer work for the church," such as cleaning the altar.

"She loved ringing the bells" as she cleaned, he said. When she was growing up, girls had not been allowed to serve at Mass or ring the altar bells at the consecration.

She also volunteered for church committees, which took her on trips to Washington, such as those supporting the antiabortion movement.

At Episcopal Academy, from which her sons Mark and Sean graduated, she was a member of the mothers' club in the late 1970s.

"She worked in the student shop, where they sell clothing and other things" carrying the school name, her son said.

But through it all, Mark Verdeur said, she was a part of Joe Verdeur Swimming Pool Supply Inc., now in Glen Mills.

"She ran their office, took all the calls, typed all the bills."

Besides her sons, Mrs. Verdeur is survived by sons Joseph Jr. and Kevin; a daughter, Michele Donahue; a brother; two sisters; 12 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren. Her husband died in 1991.

Viewings were set from 7 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Jan. 16, and from 10:15 to 11 a.m. Friday, Jan. 17, at the Bradley Funeral Home, Route 73 and Evesham Road, Marlton, before a noon Funeral Mass at St. Joan of Arc Roman Catholic Church, 100 Willow Bend Rd., Marlton.

Burial is to be in Calvary Cemetery, Villanova.

Donations may be sent to St. Joan of Arc School, 99 Evans Rd., Marlton, N.J. 08053.

Condolences may be offered to the family at the funeral home at the above address.


wnaedele@phillynews.com

610-313-8134 @WNaedele

 

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