June 21, 1937 — October 24, 2020
June Valerie Walker was the only child of Winifred Love Mead and Arthur Walter Mead born on June 21, 1937 and died on October 24, 2020.
Her family was at her side during the final days of her life and rejoice in the knowledge that they were able to hold and comfort her as she unexpectedly yet peacefully departed this earth.
Valerie was born and grew up in Portsmouth, England until she was evacuated during WWII to Edinburgh, Scotland.
Growing up in and out of bomb shelters and food lines during the war gave her a sense of what was important in life; family and friends. This would be the main influence in her life. Valerie went on to graduate from university to become a teacher.
Always up for a great adventure, Val and her best friend, Isabel, then living in England, decided they would like to teach in Spain. Knowing her mother would cause a fuss, she told her the day before leaving that she would be moving to Spain the next day. (A fuss was still caused.)
She went to Madrid where she taught in The American School. While in Spain, she met Ken, a handsome American Airman and fell instantly in love. Seven months later, the two eloped to Gibraltar. Again, surprising her parents this time with a telegram that read, “Ken and I were married today!” This union was blessed with two children, Steve and Sara.
Upon leaving the Air Force Ken and Val settled in south Austin, where they would raise their family.
Valerie landed a teaching job at John B Winn Elementary School, at the old location, which is now the home of Disch-Falk Field at The University of Texas. Later she transferred to Cunningham Elementary in South Austin.
Known as Mrs V. Walker, she taught third graders, many of which fondly remember her to this day. As part of a tight knit group of teachers, Valerie was encouraged to earn a degree in Educational Leadership, which she did at Southwest Texas State University (Now Texas State University).
With the new degree in hand, it was time to for Valerie to apply her experience as an administrator and mentor to others. Her first Principal-ship was at Rosedale Elementary later moving to Travis Heights Elementary.
She was offered the opportunity to open a brand new school, Svante Palm. Although she adored her position at Travis Heights, she felt she would like this new challenge. The new location of Palm opened in 1987 with 544 students and a staff of 57, many of the staff following her from Travis Heights.
A few of Valerie’s accolades include Austin ISD Principal of the Year, Texas PTA Life Membership and The Yellow Rose of Texas Award (presented by Ann Richards) Her most treasured prize was the relationships formed with her teachers, parents and students. She kept in very close contact with many of them over the years. Valerie retired from 30 years in education in 1993.
In 1979 Ken and Valerie discovered Horseshoe Bay, Texas, and this beautiful community on Lake LBJ.
After her retirement, they moved full-time into their house on The Slick Rock Golf Course. Ken played golf and Valerie lovingly took care of her mother full-time. She made each day special for “Nan” who lived to be just short of 100 years of age.
Valerie and Ken traveled extensively in later years and enjoyed every moment and each new experience. Upon her husband’s passing, Valerie bravely continued to travel the world on her own and with friends.
Valerie’s wonderful neighbors played an integral part in her life including her in joyous activities and parties at Horseshoe Bay.
She especially loved organizing dinners with friends and monthly Trivia with her team, Judy’s Jokers.
Valerie led a good, kind and honorable life and was a well-loved and loyal wife, mother and Grammie. Whenever with Valerie, you knew she was truly interested and present in the moment. Valerie was a blessing to her family and friends and will be forever missed.
Valerie is survived by her son, Steve, daughter and son-in-law Sara and Daren Hersh, granddaughter and grandson-in-law Candace and Rudy Fernandez, granddaughters Lauren and Emily Hersh, extended family, wonderful friends and many former teachers. She loved and cherished each and every one.
A private family service will be held at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas. A larger Celebration of Life is planned for April 22, 2021 at Horseshoe Bay.
Valerie was extremely passionate about every child having the opportunity to attend college.
The family has set up a scholarship for future teachers in her name. For more information and online condolences, go to porterloring.com.