Valentine Katherine Shepard
01/27/1936 - 09/13/2018
A memorial service for Valentine K. (Wolk) Shepard, 82, of Virginia, MN, and formerly of Sand Lake, Britt, MN, will be held Friday, September 21, 2018 at the Sand Lake Chapel, 9038 Biss Road, Britt, MN, with Pastor Richard Lohry officiating at 11:00 am. Visitation will be held one hour prior to the service. A luncheon will be provided in the church basement following the service. A private family inurnment will be held at a later date at Forest Hills-St. Thomas Cemetery, International Falls, MN. Arrangements are with Range Funeral Home in Virginia. To sign the online guest book or to send condolences, please visit www.rangefuneralhomes.
Val went home to be with her Lord and Savior on September 13, 2018.
Valentine Katherine Wolk was born to Nina and Sergay Wolk on January 27, 1936, in International Falls, MN. She and her three brothers enjoyed growing up with an extended family of aunts, uncles and cousins living nearby, proudly celebrating their Russian heritage and traditions together. She helped her father with the bookkeeping for Wolk’s Radio & TV Repair Shop, was in Chorus, and graduated from Falls High School in 1954. She was a member of the Civil Air Patrol, Junior Rifle Club, and International Women’s Friendship Society of International Falls and Fort Frances. Val was a gifted bowler and a sharp card player, winning often in family games of whist, pinnacle and cribbage.
She married Ron Shepard on December 16, 1960, in a beautiful wedding dress she had created herself, and they made their home in South International Falls, MN. Several years later, Ron’s job took them to their home in Britt, MN, where Val lived until 2017, when she moved to the Virginia Carefree Living. They had 4 daughters; Tammy, Dawn, Lisa and Gina. When Ron passed away in 1972, Val became a single mom to four young girls. She raised them with a fierce independence, wanting help from no one. A talented seamstress, Val made many of their school clothes, and expertly knitted and crocheted many hats, mittens, scarves, and sweaters for them as they grew up. She taught the girls to grow vegetable gardens, canning and pickling the bounty every fall. A gifted artist, she sold many of her drawings, paintings, ceramics and craftwork at Arts & Crafts shows. Val did most of her home repairs on her own, teaching her girls a “can-do” attitude, building their confidence in themselves, giving them the courage to try anything.
A generous spirit, Val loved giving to others. She was a decades’ old member of the Sand Lake Chapel, their Ladies Aid, and had also been a board member. She was a Room Mother who loved making treats for everyone in her kids’ classes, helped with Girl Scouts and 4-H, and always welcomed their friends into her home, where they could often find plenty of fresh baked goodies. Games of badminton, croquet, kick the can, and tree climbing were often seen taking place at the Shepard home, with everyone drinking from the garden hose. She made holidays and birthdays a blast.
Val continued her love for bowling on the Virginia’s Women’s Leagues, with many trophies brought home. Her favorite job was at the Fashion Bug in Virginia, MN, where, as a sales associate, she made many, many friends. She also worked at Fingerhut, Eveleth, MN, was a cashier at Fortune Bay Casino, Tower, MN, a bookkeeper at Pohaki Lumber, Virginia, MN, a US Census Taker, and finally, a bookkeeper and custodian at the Sand Lake Chapel in Britt, MN, until 2017.
Her faith in God the Father and His Son, Jesus Christ, filled her with hope and strength throughout her tough times, and she was proud to claim she was an “overcomer!” Val was a cancer survivor who joyously participated in the annual Sand Lake Shuffle Fundraiser. Following a stroke at age 81, she worked hard in rehab so she could go back home. When she broke her hip and wrist later that year, doctors did not want to attempt surgery on it, so she had to let it self-heal. After more rehab, she was dancing again without a walker or a cane just 5 months later. She was tough, determined, and a real fighter, who in good times and bad, said “God is good!”
Val treasured her time walking around in her front yard, smelling the flowers, watching the squirrels and birds, making sure they were fed, and listening to her wind chimes in the breeze, and the local Loons. She loved watching lightning, fireflies, and the Northern Lights. She kept in touch with people through email, and had fun doing research on the internet well into her 80’s. But Val’s favorite activity was spending time with her grandchildren. Her happiest times were going to their school activities, staying home and watching movies with them, baking, doing crafts, reading, enjoying the holidays with them, and spending time outdoors with them. They kept her young, they kept her laughing, and they brought her the greatest joy. They gave her the best memories of her life and she hopes she is leaving them with the same.
Val is survived by her daughters; Tammy (Jerry) Krupa, Dawn (Del Hitchcock) Shepard, Lisa (Craig) Byron, and Gina (Mike Maki) Pishler, grandchildren; Brandon (Jackie) Otway, Derrick Byron, Trevor Byron, Cassee Bradshaw and Mitchl Buck; great-grandson Noah Otway, sister-in-law Dianne (Lee) Nissen, sister-in-law Shannon Butler, and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Val was preceded in death by her husband, Ron Shepard; her parents, Nina and Sergay Wolk; her brothers, Walter Wolk, Donald Wolk, and Richard Wolk; her father-in-law William Shepard, mother-in-law Dorothy Shepard, brother-in-law Clyde Shepard, and sister-in-law Carol Wolk.
Her family wishes to thank the staffs at the Essentia Hospital and Clinic of Virginia, MN, Essentia St. Mary’s of Duluth, MN, Miller-Dwan Rehab of Duluth, MN, St. Michael’s Health & Rehab of Virginia, MN, Essentia Iron Range Rehab of Virginia, MN, and Spectrum Health Rehab, for all the medical and rehab care you have given Val these past 2 years.
We also send a special thank you to Virginia Carefree Living staff for giving Val such a warm, loving and welcoming home since she moved there last year. You all went above and beyond the call of duty in caring for her. She enjoyed her time with you tremendously and loved you all. Rest assured, she is riding her exercise bike up in heaven right now and outdoing everyone!