By OPEC Staff
Edward A. Veit, a criminal justice consultant and former CDCR official who was an advocate for the parole system, died July 22, his family said. He was 87.
Mr. Veit was a noted criminal justice expert with more than 50 years of experience in correctional institutions and field services.
A memorial service and celebration of Mr. Veit’s life will be held 2 p.m. Friday, Aug. 24 at St. James Episcopal Church, 514 14th St. in Paso Robles. Memorial donations in honor of Mr. Veit may be made to a charity of the donor’s choice or the Rescue Alliance (designate: Paws Cause), P.O. Box 1536, San Luis Obispo, CA 93406.
You can share your memories of Mr. Veit and sign a guestbook online at www.keuhlnicolayfurneralhome.com. Click on “obituaries.” (You may not be able to access this site from a CDCR computer.)
Mr. Veit was born in Los Angeles County in 1925.
Mr. Veit was the oldest of two sons born to Sara Jane and Adolph Veit. Like many of his generation, Mr. Veit grew up fast.
His childhood spanned the Great Depression and while still in his teens, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He served in major World War II campaigns in the South Pacific, including Guadalcanal.
He returned from the Pacific to study International Relations at the University of Southern California. During the Korean War, Mr. Veit rejoined the Navy.
Mr. Veit’s returned to civilian life and spent time in a family-owned paving business. He then embarked on a path that led to a life of public service.
His career in law enforcement began at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s East LA Station in the l950s. Ten years later, he moved his family to the countryside of northern California, where Mr. Veit made a home with his wife, Phyllis.
Starting as a correctional officer at Folsom Prison, he rose to be the state’s top inspector of local jails as executive director of the Board of Corrections. He served as an assistant deputy director of the California Department of Corrections. He named in 1985 to be deputy director and chief of parole and community services.
Over the years, he met with the sheriffs of every county in the state and became a formidable advocate for the often unheralded work of parole agents.
A retired agent said: “Ed was very respected. He gave respect; he got respect. He was hard-working, down to earth, always one of us. A good guy. The Chief.”
The Edward Veit Community Correctional Center in Sacramento honored his legacy.
In retirement, he continued to assist agencies, commissions and boards. Despite officially retiring in 1989, Mr. Veit never ceased his work to make a better world, traveling as far Afghanistan as a consultant.
He continued to serve the community of Paso Robles, where he made his home the past 10 years. He was named “Volunteer of the Year” for the Paso Robles Police Department in 2009.
He was a member of Tom Brokaw’s “Greatest Generation,” grounded by childhood poverty, the trials and terror of battle in foreign countries and worked with inmates and parolees who had “made poor choices.” Yet he would still often say: “People are basically decent.”
Mr. Veit’s world views were fed by direct experience and an insatiable appetite for reading. He loved the “news” and would read several newspapers a day, clipping and mailing customized packets of articles to family, friends and business associates.
While raising a family, he still found time to devour two or three books a week before departing for work, while simultaneously preparing Navy fare of Spam, bacon or corned beef hash for his children.
Mr. Veit is survived by his life partner, Ruth Morgan of Paso Robles; brother, David Veit (Marie) of San Marcos, Calif.; children Kathleen Veit and Judith Veit of Seattle, Wash.; Bruce Veit (Toshi Foster) of Palmerston North, New Zealand; and James Veit of El Cerrito, Calif.; stepchildren Hilary Kimber of Fresno, Calif.; and Bruce Johnstone of New York; grandsons Kiran and Alex Veit and Claiborne and Sheridan McPheeters and Morgan Griffiths; and granddaughter, Kelly Johnstone.