Longtime McDonald resident LaVerne Mary Ritchie Jamison died quietly at home on Sunday, May 14, surrounded by nieces and nephews. She was 99.
Born in Burgettstown on Aug. 20, 1923, she and her two brothers came to McDonald to live with grandparents after the deaths of their parents, Samuel McGregor Ritchie and Mary Vandecasty Ritchie.
The trio left orphaned at the start of the Great Depression were raised by their grandmother, Belgian immigrant Maria Pletincks Vandecasty Cenis and their step-grandfather Victor Cenis. The family lived in a McDonald home, built near the turn of the century using hand-made bricks baked in a backyard oven. It is where Mrs. Jamison lived the rest of her life and ultimately died.
She graduated from McDonald High School in 1941 and took a job as payroll clerk for Columbia Steel, Carnegie, where she worked for 25 years.
She married Herbert Russell Jamison on June 23, 1950, at Irons Memorial Presbyterian Church. Over the years, she was a member of the Ladies Auxiliary at the American Legion Post #485 and a volunteer for years with Meals on Wheels. Later, she also helped out at the Heritage Public Library.
She spent 20 years at her second career as a teller for Pittsburgh National Bank in downtown McDonald, where she once was the victim of notorious bank robbers. Brothers Larry and Robert Castner went on the lam after kidnapping a deputy sheriff and escaping from the Washington County Jail in 1977. They stopped at the bank where she worked, jumped up on a counter in front of Mrs. Jamison and demanded money as they waved guns. The men later were captured and sent to federal prison. “The Aunt,” as she was known to her nieces and nephews, sometimes told the story of how terrified she was during the hold up.
Mrs. Jamison retired in 1986, and the couple began spending winters in Ft. Myers, Fla.
She was pre-deceased by her brothers Harold Victor Ritchie, Fairless Hills, Pa., and Samuel McGregor Ritchie, Mount Dora, Fl. Her husband Russell died in 2016 after a stroke, and she will be buried next to him in Robinson Run Cemetery. She is survived by 10 of her 11 nieces and nephews, whose lives and adventures she delighted to follow, especially after she learned to text wickedly fast on her iPhone.
Family will receive friends from 7 - 9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 17, and Thursday, May 18, from 10-11 a.m. at Nation Funeral Home Inc., 220 E. Lincoln Ave., McDonald, Pa. A Funeral Service will take place immediately following visitation on Thursday at 11:00 a.m. by the Rev. Charles Puff. A short interment ceremony will be conducted graveside, after which family and friends will be received at a reception at her home.
In lieu of flowers, friends may elect to contribute to the Heritage Public Library 52 fourth St. McDonald, PA. 15057.
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