Valerie Mary “Val” Gierisch, 95, of Burley, our beloved mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, and friend, passed away quietly at her home on Friday, July 19, 2019, surrounded by her family. Her feisty spirit, love and friendship will be missed by all.
Valerie was born on October 18, 1923, in Sydney, Australia, the youngest daughter of Ambrose Terry and Millicent Gertrude Mulready Gow, where she was welcomed by ten siblings. She was raised and educated in Sydney.
Valerie met the love of her life, Haven K. Gierisch, in September of 1942, at a USO dance in Sydney while he was stationed there during World War II. After Haven was released from the Army and returned home to Burley, the couple continued to communicate through letters until Valerie finally agreed to come to America and marry Haven. It took two years for boat passage to be cleared through the U.S. Consul, as war brides had priority, and at the time, Val and Haven were only engaged. They were married on February 16, 1947, and spent 62 wonderful years together until Haven’s passing on May 30, 2009. To this union four sons were born.
During Valerie’s younger years she enjoyed being a room mother for all four sons during their grade school years. She had a part-time job welcoming newcomers to Burley for 40 years and was always interested in where they came from and what brought them to the area. Valerie did volunteer work with the Red Cross blood bank for more than 40 years. She was a Red Cross Grey Lady about five years and then they switched to Pink Ladies. She retired with 10,000 hours as a Pink Lady. Valerie also worked at the polls in the Pella area for more than 30 years. She was honored as a pioneer at Oakley Pioneer Days in 2010. For recreation, Valerie enjoyed playing golf and bridge. She was an excellent knitter and made countless sweaters for her family, washcloths for the Festival of Trees, and hundreds of hats which were given to St. Luke’s and Primary Children’s Hospitals, neighbors, family and friends.
Valerie enjoyed returning to Australia over the years to visit her family. She also enjoyed trips to Mexico, Arizona, Wyoming, Nevada, Montana, and California, to visit family and friends.
Survivors include her three sons, Terry (Cindy) Gierisch of Paul, Raoul (Dee) Gierisch of Cypress, Texas, and Vince (Stacey) Gierisch of Cheyenne, Wyoming; and her “adopted” family of Bart and Sharon Bowers of Burley. She is also survived by five grandchildren; seven great- grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Valerie was preceded in death by her husband, Haven; a son, Lawrence; a granddaughter, Giani; her parents; and all her siblings.
The family would like to thank the staff of Intermountain Homecare & Hospice for the loving, compassionate care of our mother during her final days. You are all so greatly appreciated. The family would also like to extend a special thank you to her guardian angels, Ramon and Joyce McBride, Gil and Joy Long, and Bart and Sharon Bowers, for all the love and friendship given to our mother over the years.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, Aug. 2, at Rasmussen-Wilson Funeral Home, 1350 E. 16th St., in Burley, with Bishop Bart Bowers officiating. Burial will be in Gem Memorial Gardens.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorials be made to Intermountain Homecare & Hospice in care of Rasmussen-Wilson Funeral Home, P.O. Box 878, Burley, ID 83318-0878.