Obituary for Valeria Coe
Obituary for Valeria Coe
Valeria Coe was born on Oct. 18, 1917, in Howard, South Dakota to William and Kate Hoffert. The youngest of six children, she was raised on a farm with her four sisters, Nora, Mae, Beulah and Addie, and her brother Bill.
When the Great Depression hit, her father got a job building roads. Valeria traveled with her parents and the road construction crew across the region for several years, sometimes changing schools 4 or 5 times a year. Valeria and her family later moved to Rapid City, South Dakota, where Valeria graduated from Rapid City High School. She joined the first Girl Scout troop in Rapid City and enjoyed camping with her troop. Valeria played basketball and tennis at a time when girls’ participation in sports was not common. She became an advocate for women’s sports her entire life.
She went on to attend South Dakota State University, where she met her husband Sheldon Coe. After their graduation in 1939, Sheldon was assigned to the U.S. Army base in the Philippines. Just before shipping out, Sheldon proposed to Valeria, and they were married Sept. 7, 1940, at the Little Brown Church in the Vale in Iowa while on their way to the Philippines.
After 6 months as newlyweds in the Philippines, World War II broke out, and Valeria was forced to return to the U.S. along with all the other women and children on the base. Shortly thereafter, Sheldon was captured by Japanese troops, and Valeria spent several difficult years not knowing if he was alive and awaiting his return.
When the war ended in 1945, Sheldon came home safely, and the couple moved to Elkhart, Indiana. Valeria became a teacher at Mary Feeser Elementary school. Many recall the teacher who drove the blue Corvette, which a neighbor referred to as the “hyacinth for her soul”.
In 1951, Valeria gave birth to a daughter, Kathryn. Valeria referred to her early years of motherhood as the highlight of her life. During her time in Indiana, she was also an active member of the Progress Club, Tri Kappa, the P.E.O. International Sisterhood and the First Presbyterian Church. She obtained her Master of Science Degree in Education from the University of Indiana. She enjoyed many hobbies, including cooking, gardening and photography.
After 16 years as a primary school teacher, Valeria and her husband retired to Vero Beach, Florida, in 1981, where she resided until her death on April 24, 2017, at the age of 99.
Valeria was preceded in death by her husband of 71 years, Sheldon Coe. She is survived by her daughter, Kathryn (William) Word of Arvada, Colorado; two granddaughters, Megan (Kendrick) Lane of Denver, Colorado and Laura (Brett) Pickford) of Parker, Colorado; and four great-grandchildren, Clara, Owen, Caleb and Blake. The legacy of her strength, resilience, kindness, humor and humility are gifts to us all.
A celebration of Valeria’s life will be held at the Kirk Funeral Home, 1051 East Minnesota St, Rapid City, South Dakota on May 30, 2017 at 1:00 p.m. Interment will be at the Black Hills National Cemetery in Sturgis, South Dakota. The family requests that guests wear floral and spring colors in honor of Valeria’s love of gardening
Memorial donations may be made to The Kitchen Community, a nonprofit organization that builds learning gardens at elementary schools. www.thekitchencommunity.org