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Remembering Elisabeth

By Rebekah Skeens
On September 10, 2018

Elisabeth "Libby" Alvis
Photo Courtesy of Concord University


Elisabeth “Libby” Alvis leaves behind her legacy of hard work and dedication. On July 17, 2018, Libby passed away at the age of 84.
Elisabeth Alvis was born on Aug. 26, 1933 in Németkér, Hungary. Due to World War II, her family was forced to move to Germany to begin a new chapter in their life when she was just a young child. Little did she know, she would soon meet and fall in love with a soldier in the U.S. Army. This U.S. soldier, Robert Alvis, would become her husband in 1953. After their wedding, she followed her love back to his small hometown of Athens, W.Va., where they began a life of their own.
In 1957, Libby started her lifelong career in the dining hall at Concord University, where she served as a cashier and floor manager. Aside from her official positions, she served as an unofficial mother to thousands of students who walked through the cafeteria doors throughout the years. 
Drema Richardson, part of the current dining hall staff, stated, “She was a mother to all. She was a mother for the students, her own children, which she adored, and even the others in the cafeteria, including us.”
Alvis spent much of her life giving and serving the University. In May of 2008, she was honored for her years of service with Concord University’s dining hall. At the time of her retirement, she spent over 40 years giving to the campus. By action of the board of governors, the cafeteria was renamed “The Libby Alvis Dining Hall.”
Miss Gurnie, current dining hall staff member, shares what a special lady Libby Alvis was inside and out. “She was part of our family.” She continued by stating, “She was strict, but she knew how to run this place, and she knew exactly what she was doing.” She then said how she would always remember her as an incredible, hardworking woman.
Donna Ray, dining hall staff member, shares how giving Libby truly was. Libby had once told her this story of when she was leaving Germany. Her husband was a woodworker and had several of the pieces he had created left in the workshop. Right before they were due to leave, Libby snuck back in and retrieved some of Robert’s favorite pieces to bring back to West Virginia. Ray says, “That’s what kind of person she was. She did all that because he was the love of her life. There wasn’t any question that she was truly in love. She loved and adored her husband and especially her boys.”
Drema Richardson began by sharing how “Libby was awesome.” She then said how Libby was one of a kind in many ways. “There would be times when you thought she was going to yell at you, but then she would just break out in laughter. When Libby laughed, you couldn’t help but laugh too.”
The Concord dining family all had similar thoughts about how they remembered Elisabeth Alvis. They felt she was a stand-in mother for everyone around her and that she was a true inspiration because of how she handled her new life when moving to a new place. When coming to America, Libby didn’t speak English very well. After moving here with her husband Robert, she taught herself the English language with little help from others.
After Libby’s retirement from Concord, she moved to Tennessee to be close to her son and grandchildren. She loved her family more than anything, and this showed through her personality each and every day. Libby Alvis will be greatly missed by her family and all her friends and family at Concord.
In honor of Elisabeth, there was a memorial service in the ballroom of the Concord University student center on Aug. 28. The service was lively and filled with loving memories of Libby. Many faculty, staff, and Concord alums were in attendance to help celebrate the life of Elisabeth Alvis.
As Elisabeth had many years of dedication to Concord, in her memory, a scholarship has been established. Instead of flowers, the family asked for donations to be made to the Concord University Foundation, which can go toward the newly formed scholarship. Those donations can be made online at The Concord community is saddened by the loss of another family member but has been very lucky to work with and know a woman such as Libby Alvis.


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