Winston-Salem Sept. 11, 1923 - May 16, 2016 Vangalier (Van) Poulas Nitz, 92, mother, "Meme," and dear friend to many, was born to eternal life on Monday, May 16, 2016, at home in Winston-Salem, N.C. She was 92. Born Sept. 11, 1923, in Darlington County, S.C., Van was the oldest of the 11 children of James Arthur Poulas, a Greek immigrant who lived in Darlington County after coming to the United States, and his wife, Ethel Waddell. Van attended Darlington County schools in her early years and went on to graduate from Coker College in Hartsville, S.C., in 1944 with a Bachelor of Arts in English. While at Coker College, Van met the love of her life, Eugene (Gene) Anthony Nitz, at an officer's club dance at the Florence Army Air Corps base in Florence, S.C. When Gene met Van that evening, he confided in one of his friends, "I'm going to marry that girl." Although Gene was the one to ask Van to dance that evening, which would become one of their favorite pastimes, Van was the one who swept Gene off of his feet when the two married on Dec. 20, 1944. Van and Gene have shared their lives with one another as partners, parents, and best friends for more than 70 years, though their love for one another and their family will last well beyond their lifetimes. Van's teaching career began in Darlington County, S.C., teaching the seventh and eighth grades while Gene was deployed during World War II. Subsequently, they moved to Chicago, Ill., after World War II for Gene to complete his degree in engineering. Van worked for Western Electric during this time. In 1952, they moved to Winston-Salem, N.C., where they began raising their family. In the early 1950s, Van continued her spiritual journey and was confirmed in the Catholic Church. Van's life reflected a living faith that was expressed through her loving works and actions. Her love of family was only second to her devotion to Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary. Van was a true "prayer warrior." Her love of church led her to devote her life to faith, family, and friends. Van taught at Our Lady of Mercy School and served as church secretary during the 1970s. Her walk of faith deepened as she participated in the Cursillo movement, Corpus Christi prayer community, and Catholic Marriage Encounter, and served as a leader in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, church lector, Eucharistic minister, hospital minister for the sick, and spiritual counselor to many. Van was a corporate member of the Our Lady of Mercy Society, which led the relocation and expansion of Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church and School from Main Street to Link Road in Winston-Salem. Van seized every opportunity to celebrate life with family and friends. This included annual trips to the South Carolina coast for the Poulas family reunion. The reunion talent show became a summer ritual with her and her sisters performing the main act. Van had a contagious smile and laugh, tempered with her gentle spirit and kind words. Van was intensely passionate about and committed to all that she loved throughout her life, attending her children and grandchildren's sports activities as their biggest fan. Her favorite color was the Carolina blue of the University of North Carolina Tar Heels that she enthusiastically cheered for every year. In fact, she loved all sports, especially the Atlanta Braves. Van is survived by her loving husband of 70 years, Gene; her five children, Patricia de las Morenas (Antonio), Bedford, Mass.; Tony Nitz (Carrie), Greensboro, N.C.; Susan Renegar, Winston- Salem, N.C. (Bruce Fenn, Chapel Hill, N.C.); Jim Nitz (Lisa), Advance, N.C.; Joe Nitz (Elizabeth Matthews), Mount Pleasant, S.C.; 20 grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Van was preceded in death by her parents, James and Ethel Poulas; her loving son-in-law, Don Renegar; her brothers, Charles, James and Kenneth Poulas; and her sisters, Katherine Poulas and Yvonne Sauls. The family would like to extend their heartfelt gratitude to Van's caregivers: Nadine Chamberlain, Carolyn James, Teresa Jackson, and Shelley Traxler, along with Maggie McGinnis, RN (of Hospice), and Dr. Ted Toberg and staff for the loving care they so freely gave her over many months. A 5:30 p.m. rosary service and 6-8 p.m. family visitation will be held on Thursday, May 19, 2016, at Hayworth-Miller Silas Creek location. A memorial mass will take place on Friday, May 20, 2016, at Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church at 2 p.m., with celebrant Father Joe Angelini, O.F.M. Conv. Interment will follow the mass at Parklawn Memorial Gardens. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to be made in Van's name to Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church and/or Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School, 1730 Link Road, Winston-Salem, N.C. 27103. Online condolences can be made at www.hayworth-miller.com.