Valerie Jeanne Walsh, 94 of Nobleboro, died peacefully on September 6, 2017, at Chase Point, in Damariscotta. She was born on December 10, 1922 in Elyria, OH, to Lydia Marie (Kuss) and Frank A. Tite. She adored her older brother, Jimmy, who became a musician. Their father was a kind-hearted, civil engineer who traveled all over the world, sending his earnings home, while their mother raised them. Like so many people during the Great Depression, they lost their home. In spite of the hardships, growing their own food would later inspire Valerie to raise great, organic vegetable and flower gardens, and her mother’s expertise in designing and making their own clothes would prove another positive influence.
Valerie graduated from Elyria High School two years ahead, with a growing interest in art and theater. When the family moved to San Francisco, CA, Valerie took college courses in art, and eventually traveled alone to New York City in the early 40’s to pursue a successful career in fashion illustration. She was extremely talented, as well as stylish, stunning and vivacious. In 1948, Valerie had a dramatic role in an award winning avant-garde film, Dreams That Money Can Buy; written, produced, and directed by surrealist artist and dada film-theorist, Hans Richter. It featured the collaborative efforts of artists Max Ernst, Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, Alexander Calder, among others.
During that time, she met Pierre Olivier, from France, who was doing business in Manhattan for Otis-Pifre. They married in 1947, lived in Paris at his parents’ apartment in the 16th arrondissement for four years, then returned to New York City to have their only child, Nicole. Pierre’s father was President of the French Line, and business and family travels to and from France on the ocean liners Flandre and the SS France were memorable. Pierre became an investment banker on Wall St. and Valerie continued her freelance fashion illustrations for newspapers and magazines, entertaining guests at home, volunteering at Bellevue Hospital as a member of the Junior League of New York, and summer vacationing in Round Pond, Maine, at Moxie Cove. The marriage ended in divorce, but she and Pierre remained good friends until his death in 2001 in Damariscotta.
In 1970, she married actor, producer and director, James Walsh, and they moved to upstate New York, and finally to Stonington, CT. He passed away in 1991. Soon after, Valerie moved to Damariscotta Mills, in Nobleboro, ME, to be near her daughter and grandchildren, Abby and Lindsey. She volunteered at the Skidompha Used Bookstore, and was a member of the Bristol Garden Club, and a local book club.
She loved her granddaughters beyond measure, and her little dog, Y’Quem. She loved, and was very proud of, her daughter. She had a passion for cooking, poetry, Mozart and Mahler, Frank Sinatra, spiders and black and white cows. An articulate conversationalist and avid reader, Valerie liked nothing more than to discourse on anything from worldwide topics to gardening, with friends and strangers alike. As time went by, she became more introspective, and thoroughly enjoyed living alone. Her memory was astounding. The occasional martini and a good meal out with family and friends made her as happy as she could possibly be.
Valerie was predeceased by her brother and her parents.
She is survived by her loving daughter, Nicole Eve Olivier, of Damariscotta; granddaughters, Lindsey G. Plummer and husband, Sam Hancock, of Nobleboro, ME, and Abigail E. Plummer and husband, Greg Bernard, of Camden, ME; her niece, Lisa Tite, of Eden Prairie, MN; nephew, Christopher (Max) Tite, and wife, Leila, of Minneapolis, MN; cousin, Barbara (Barb) Markle and husband Richard, of Columbus OH; cousins, Mary Powers Miller, and Marilyn Jenne, both of Amherst, OH; niece, Sylvie Bonnassies of Nimes, France and her son, Cedric, of Nice, France; and three step-children: Melanie (Didi) Walsh and husband, Simon of Stonington, CT, Valerie A., of Ledyard, CT, and Richard Walsh of Miami, FL. She will also be missed by her dearest caregiver, Pam Kikalis, of Georgetown, ME, and longtime friends, Pat Dubord, of Waldoboro, and Claire Outerbridge of Cambridge, MA.
The family is grateful to the staff at Chase Point for their kind support and compassionate care. She will be buried beside her first husband, Pierre, at the Bethlehem Cemetery in Damariscotta, in a private ceremony on September 30th, 2017.
Arrangements are under the direction and care of the Strong-Hancock Funeral Home, 612 Main Street, Damariscotta. Condolences, and messages for her family, may be expressed by visiting: www.StrongHancock.com.
“…We wake, at night, to
imagine, and again wake
at dawn to begin; to let
the intervals speak
for themselves, to
listen to how they
feel, to give pause
to what we’re about:
to relate ourselves,
over and over; in
time beyond time…”
—from "Saying It" by Philip Booth