Thursday, January 7, 2016

Verdette Walters - Minister and ... cheer leader?

I made a fun discovery in yearbooks on Ancestry today. 
In looking for Walters family in Iowa, I found several entries for Verdette Walters, the younger brother of my great-grandpa Cecil Lloyd Walters. Both brothers would become minsters, although I don't believe my Grandpa Walters had any formal training. Verdette, however, attended Morningside College in Sioux City, Iowa. The college was and still is affiliated with the Methodist Church.

Verdette was involved in several organizations while at school, including being president and vice-president of several groups.
From the yearbook, Verdette's Junior year, 1929:
To see "Shorty" coming down the street you would think he was going to a fire somewhere, but owing to the fact that he is so tremendously short he feels that he must hurry to catch up with himself. He finds time to be a student-pastor at a small church in Luton, Iowa, balance a tray at the Dorm, and display his pugilistic tendencies on the mat in the gym to a profitable advantage.
(Verdette had a twin sister who also went by the nickname "Shorty." I remember meeting her when I was young.)

Verdette added one more activity to his resume in his Senior year when he became a member of the Yell-leading Squad.
Before a really successful "Pep" Chapel can be held, it is necessary to have an organized team of yell-leaders to stir up the pep that is latent within us students. Accordingly, competitive tryouts for a cheering squad were held in the chapel a week before the first football game last fall. The judges, consisting of representatives from the faculty and three veterans...viewed the efforts of the ten or fifteen who had signified their desire to become contortionists for the glory of old Morningside. The hopeful aspirants, seated on the chapel platform, nervously awaited their turn. Each man led two yells, and when he had finished took his seat amid a storm of applause - whether any good or no. After considerable of [sic] solemn deliberation the judges decided upon Ervin Hutchison, a Freshman, and Verdette Walters, a Senior, to complete the roaring five. Our new yell squad, resplendent in uniforms of maroon and white, were first seen in action at the Augustana football game, where their earnest pleadings brought forth most satisfactory results, and gave promise of a successful cheer season.
Verdette Walters (far left) and he fellow yell-leaders

Following college, Verdette married Vera Schuetz, also a student at Morningside. The couple made their way to California and Verdette served in various churches and as a chaplain in the US Army. He was in World War II and the Korean War. A sermon given in 1943 quoted Verdette on his feelings of serving the troops. “Not many of us relish the idea of ‘this war’ --- but under the circumstances, this opportunity to really serve one’s country through serving the young men in the army --- is proving to be an experience I would not have missed.” Verdette enlisted from 1943-1946 and again from 1947-1954.

Sources: Morningside College Yearbooks, 1928-1930, 1933,; Find A Grave; Department of Military Death Files,; sermon by Robert Wells Kingdon.

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