War hero learned, taught respect for human worth
When Wayne T. Alderson jokingly told friends and acquaintances that the T in his name meant “trouble,” the German army during World War II could verify that claim.
As an infantry scout, Pvt. Alderson was the first American infantryman to cross the Siegfried Line into Germany, the enemy's strongest and first line of defense, according to the citation accompanying his Silver Star. After returning to battalion headquarters, he volunteered to lead an attack. Fully exposed and vastly outnumbered, he charged into a fierce firefight at close range, beating back the enemy attack and inflicting 35 casualties.
Wayne T. Alderson of Pleasant Hills, formerly of Canonsburg, died Friday, Feb. 22, 2013, in St. Clair Hospital. He was 86.
Upon his return to civilian life, Mr. Alderson worked to build roads during the day and attended what is now Robert Morris University at night to receive his business degree.
Mr. Alderson was a nationally recognized speaker and spiritual leader who founded Value of the Person, teaching the principles of love, dignity and respect in the work world.
“Although Dad was considered a peacemaker in the work world, he felt that the values he espoused also applied to a person's home life,” said his daughter, Nancy Jean McDonnell of Upper St. Clair, president of Value of the Person, headquartered in Mt. Lebanon.
Born and raised in Canonsburg, Wayne Alderson was one of seven children of Anthony Alderson, a coal miner, and his wife, Edith.
Nancy Holt Alderson, his wife of 60 years, said she met her husband at a party in Mt. Washington.
“I felt then and I continued to feel throughout our marriage that the Lord had it all planned for us to meet,” she said.
In addition to his wife Nancy, and his daughter, Nancy Jean, Mr. Alderson is survived by his sisters, Lillie Shannon and Jeanne Alderson, both of Canonsburg.
Family and friends will be received from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 p.m. Sunday and Monday in Jefferson Memorial Home Inc., 301 Curry Hollow Road, Pleasant Hills.
A funeral service will be held in his honor at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Pleasant Hills Community Presbyterian Church.
Interment and military honors to follow in the National Cemetery of the Alleghenies, Bridgeville, where he asked to be buried, along with the men and women that fought for their country.
Jerry Vondas is a writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7823 or firstname.lastname@example.org.