Valene Howe passed away at Mesa Manor Rehabilitation Care Center on Aug. 22, 2012, at the age of 89.
Valene began life on a ranch near Steamboat Springs, where she was born at home. Life on the ranch during the Great Depression-era 1930s meant working in numerous roles related to raising cattle, dairy cows and pigs and growing potatoes and hay all with the purpose of eking out a living. She related memories of planting and digging potatoes, selling or preserving them in an underground cellar and hauling milk in containers to town for sale to the local dairy. Riding a horse to attend a one-room community school while carrying hot potatoes in her pockets to keep warm is an example of Valene’s experiences that are unfamiliar by today’s standards.
Upon the family’s move into town in the late 1930s, Valene helped her dad run a roller skating business. With the arrival of World War II and many men off to military service, Valene was needed to help operate her dad’s gas service station on Steamboat’s main street. At some point, she was doing part-time bookkeeping work for a local department store and a furniture business. When her dad began serving as chairman of the Routt County Fair and Fourth of July rodeos, she served as his secretary.
Valene was introduced to Stephen Howe upon his discharge from the U.S. Navy following the war. They married in 1947. Valene became a housewife and mother to two children. To bring in extra income, she partnered with a neighbor and established a cleaning business that serviced a number of homes and business facilities across Steamboat. This endeavor allowed scheduling flexibility compatible to Valene’s priority of having time for family.
Recreation during these years involved going on hunting, fishing and camping outings with family and friends.
In a later stage, she loved caring for her two grandsons, playing an important step in shaping their lives. In retirement, Valene and Steve spent winters in Arizona going on golfing trips and socializing with friends. Her life was characterized by being industrious, caring for those around her and enjoying family and friends.
Valene is survived by her son, Richard Howe; a daughter, Pat (John) Hurst; two grandsons, Brad (Megan) and Paul (Kerrie) Hurst; and two great-granddaughters, Ashley and Piper Hurst.
A service for Valene will be held at 10:30 a.m. Sept. 8, at Redlands United Methodist Church.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in her name to Mesa Manor (Smile Committee), 2901 N. 12th St., Grand Junction, CO 81506 or Redlands United Methodist Church (carpet fund), 527 Village Way, Grand Junction, CO 81507.