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Verna Truax Monte

July 13, 1925 ~ June 25, 2018 (age 92)
Verna Truax Monte departed this world on June 25, 2018. Her husband, Joseph Monte, passed away several years ago, and Verna missed him dearly. Born on a farm near Early, Iowa, to Frank and Lydia Truax, on July 13, 1925, she was the ninth of ten children. Her father, a blacksmith, like many others, lost the family farm during the Great Depression. Despite the hardships, she had only fond memories of growing up in Iowa as a member of a large, close-knit family. With the outbreak of World War II, she and all of her siblings became involved in the war effort. She moved to Oakland, CA, with a married sister and worked for the U.S. Navy. Initially, she worked at repairing autopilots for planes. Later, she painted instrument dials for P38 Lightning Fighters with radium paint at the Alameda Naval Air Station. There she met the love of her life, Joseph Monte. Had he lived, they would have celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary this month. He was a young sailor who had survived a torpedo attack on his ship, the USS Houston, off of the coast of Formosa. He then was returned to Alameda Naval Air Station. One day, after missing her bus, Verna saw a “good looking” sailor in his whites walking from the other direction. After a couple of bus rides, and sitting separately, a lasting relationship was born. Following a six-month romance and the end of the war, they married and returned to New Orleans. They raised five children: Vicky Hammond, her principal caretaker at the end of her life; Jeanne Monte; Frank Monte, M.D. (Marti); Mark Monte (Mike Cafferata); and Lori Besselman. When they got older, she worked at Sears in Gentilly in the accounting department. Verna was fascinated by the Louisiana plantations and frequently took family, friends, and co-workers on plantation visits. Of course she was the unofficial tour guide. Mom doted on her grandchildren: Rick Hammond (Sheri); Michelle Nichols (Matt); Anthony Monte; Kelsey FitzSimons (James); Lauren Monte (Chris, her fiance) Michael Besselman; Monte Besselman, and Susie Besselman. She was also blessed with great grandchildren: Helen Hammond; Virginia Hammond; Emma Nichols; and Andrew Nolan, whom she thought of as her great grandson. She volunteered for over twenty years at Destrehan Plantation. Along with her husband they delivered meals for many years to AIDS patients, who were homebound, at the height of the AIDS epidemic. She thrived on helping others. Verna will be missed by a large circle of family and friends. She will be honored at a private service, as was her wish. Special thanks goes to Patrick Schoen, lifelong family friend, and the Jacob Schoen & Son Funeral Home for finalizing the arrangements. For those who wish to make a donation, consider the Dysautonomia International-Louisiana Support Group at 41210 Firetower Rd., Ponchatoula, LA 70454 or your favorite charity. Condolences may be expressed at

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