Beloved mother, sister, grandma, auntie, friend, activist, and devoted Catholic, Valia “Val” Marie Luchetti, was born on April 28, 1929 in Reno, Nevada to parents Fulvio John Luchetti and Mary Elizabeth Callahan. Also from her parents, were three siblings, Lorraine who has preceded her in death, and two brothers, Kenneth and Paul. Valia lived in Nevada during her childhood and a part of her young adult lifetime. Valia’s fondest memories of her childhood were of her time spent outdoors with her cousin Romano, riding bareback on horses in nearby fields and swimming in the Truckee River and Lake Tahoe. After high school, Valia married her first husband, Fred Lund and of that marriage had a son, Freddie who preceded her in death at the very young age of nineteen, and a daughter, Karen.
Valia and Rudolph “Rudy” Valentino Washington married in 1954, soon after meeting in Nevada and moving to Los Angeles. Valia immediately took to soul food and was taught how to cook by Rudy’s mother, “Mamma Willie Ann” Washington. In those days, as a biracial couple, Valia and Rudy experienced much protest to their union. Although their marriage attracted harsh criticism, threats and, at times, placed them in imminent danger, Valia never wavered in her decision to join the black community. But rather, she became an even stronger and driven proponent for civil rights. From this new experience came her new reality and perspective on inequality, birthing her activist stance against racism and other injustices. From their marriage came six children, Lissa, Willie Ann, Rudolph (Rudy) Jr, Robin, Andrea (Annie) and Kenneth (Kenny). Her large family became the center of her life from which she derived abundant love and joy.
Valia worked many years at the AAA Automobile Club. She was an avid reader, published writer and artist. She contributed to the AAA Automobile Club’s Westways magazine, was a member of the Writer’s Guild of America, editor of Open Door Newsletter, a member of the Watts Writer’s Workshop, a member of the Coalition Against Police Abuse, and a founder of the 3rd Avenue Block Club. Valia enjoyed listening to opera, watching Betty Davis movies and foreign films, oil painting, writing screen plays, writing for television and writing poetry. Everyone close to Valia submitted their own drafts of written material to be vetted by her before turning in the final copy to a high school teacher or college professor, or when simply writing as a hobby.
Valia was surrounded by twenty-five loving Grandchildren, Kristy, Kimberly, Kendra, Charlotte, Harmon Jr. (deceased), Rasheed, Bryan, Courtney, Joanna, JoLanna, Wilfred Jr, Aaron, Byron, Kristina, Antoinette, Rudy III, Brandon, Brooke, Jazmine, Lionel Jr. (Joseph), Matthew, Candice, Alexandria (Alex), Quintina, and Kenneth Jr. (Kenny), twenty-eight great grandchildren, three great-great grandchildren cousins, nieces, nephews, sons-in-law, daughters-in-law and friends, with special mention of her most devoted friends Adele, who preceded her in death and Lucinda “Cindy.”
A loving mom to many. We all will miss her so deeply but feel so fortunate to have shared time with her, enjoying her love, wit, advice, advocacy, fairness, smiles, laughter and hugs. Forever remembered and forever in our hearts.