Virginia Valdry, a noted community advocate and longtime resident of Windsor Square for 41 years, passed away at home on April 2. She was 81-years-old.
A deep lover of God, family and community, Virginia was known for volunteering her time, talents and treasures to efforts that uplift and improve the lives of others. She was particularly dedicated to assisting women and children in underserved communities and worked with Women Aware and the Beverly Hills West Chapter of The Links Inc. on various initiatives in support of this cause.
“Virginia possessed a beautiful spirit and was always concerned about helping those less fortunate,” said Dr. Warren Valdry, her husband of 59 years.
“Throughout her life, her actions always demonstrated her great devotion to God, family and people. I am just so thankful that she always had my back during our many years of marriage and I am so thankful to have had her in my life,” he added.
The body of Virginia Valdry will lie in state on Monday, April 11, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the Valdry Center for Philanthropy at Southern University, 598 Harding Boulevard in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
A Mass celebrating her life will be held on Tuesday, April 12, at 11 a.m., at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, 12369 LA-416 Highway, Lakeland, Louisiana.
A native of Mix, Louisiana, Virginia was born on December 13, 1940 to the late Joseph Conway Rodney, Sr., and Rosalie Gaudin Rodney. Raised on a farm on the banks of False River, she developed her lifelong expertise in horticulture and pomology at an early age and she perfected her skills over the years.
Virginia was an inquisitive and intelligent student, who displayed confidence in her cognitive and physical abilities as reflected in her academic achievements as well as her interactions with her peers. One of her siblings recalled, “Virginia had a very strong sense of self. She demanded respect from her classmates and her teachers on many occasions.”
After graduating from Rosenwald High School, Virginia briefly contemplated enlisting in the U.S. Armed Forces, but instead enrolled in Southern University – Baton Rouge where she majored in accounting. While attending college in 1961, she met the man who would become her husband, following an introduction to him by her sister, Mary.
Warren, who hailed from Bueche, Louisiana, taught architectural illustration at Rosenwald High School and was immediately smitten by Virginia. Their mutual attraction went from courtship to marriage on September 26, 1962.
One year later, the couple relocated to Los Angeles, along with their infant son, René Fitzgerald. Settling comfortably in L.A., Warren continued to teach high school and soon the family was blessed with the birth of a daughter, Andrée Blanche.
For a brief period, Virginia worked as a circuit board technician at Philco-Ford. Her position enabled her to contribute to groundbreaking advancements in early high-speed computers and modern appliances. Ultimately, she decided to focus on raising her children and managing the family’s real estate development portfolio.
Virginia also devoted considerable time to participating in the Parent Teacher Association at the children’s school. In addition, she volunteered as a classroom assistant and frequently chaperoned students during field trips while continuing to provide expert management and oversight of the growing Valdry real estate business.
A faithful practitioner of Catholicism, Virginia regularly attended Mass and her intense faith greatly influenced her values and core beliefs. One of her children remarked, “Although she is now away from her earthly life, we must find peace in the understanding that she is free from pain and in a better place.”
Virginia was preceded in death by her parents, Conway and Rosalie Rodney; and her brothers, Francis Regis Rodney; the Rev. Joseph Rodney, SSJ; and Raymond (Bernadine) Rodney.
Cherishing her memory are her husband, Warren Valdry, Ph.D.; son, René (Janet); daughter, Andrée; brother, Charles (Judith) Rodney Sr.; and sisters, Mary (William) Vercher and Hilda (Ron) Ford. She will also be missed by a host of nieces, nephews, grandnieces, grandnephews, great grandnieces, great grandnephews, cousins, Links, Heir-o-Links and many friends.