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Valerie's Story

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ONEONTA - I don't know that people are attuned or able or wired to accommodate the loss of a mother. We've all lost people, we move on, we move forward, we have a passing acquaintance with loss at best and then the lightning strikes and the shock is sudden and unimaginable. We are quite literally struck dumb. It is only then we start sorting through the ash and assembling the magnitude of the life now gone.
We have to learn to work around a loss we never imagined and it's a loss we just aren't wired for. Valerie Mary Bird Marquart will be sorely missed.
She grew up on a dairy farm in Milford, the daughter of Richard and Florence Hopson Bird. She was the valedictorian of her class at Milford Central School and became the Dairy Princess for the 1939 World's Fair. When WWII came along, she rolled up her sleeves like a true Rosie the Riveter and went to work for Scintilla Manufacturing in Sidney, providing airplane parts for the war effort. Her ideals befitted and defined her generation and in turn our family; never fear hard work, study, never forget the world is bigger than oneself.
She married the love of her life, George, secretly of course, then married him a second time when the secret was out. They then happily celebrated 134 anniversaries. Together, on a 130 acre farm, Valerie and George raised their family of four children, passing along lessons learned from a life defined by hard work, generosity, devotion and sacrifice. It was during this time that she worked as a proofreader for The Daily Star in Oneonta, until her retirement in 1981.
Hers was a life marked by intellect, a sharp wit and an unerring moral clarity. Her talent as a card sharp notwithstanding, she passed those gifts on to us all in creating a home lit warm by her kindness, warmth and generosity; she did her part and taught us to always do ours and always do the right thing, even if no one is looking. My siblings and I are who we are because of her; her fearlessness became our fearlessness, her moral compass became our beacon, her steel spine gave us courage and her square British jaw taught us to always "do our part" regardless of how difficult or unpleasant the task because the reward was in the doing. We are better for her, as were all who entered her indelible orbit.
Valerie is survived by her brother, Roy Bird; a son and two daughters, Bryce and Louise Marquart, Candy and W. Carter Riley and Vicki Marquart; six grandchildren, Jeffrey, Neil and Renee Riley, Joshua Marquart, Heather Lombardi, and Kimberly Herrmann; and five great-grandsons.
She was predeceased by her beloved husband, George C. Marquart (2009) and son, Barry G. Marquart (1980).
Visitation will be from 2 to 5 p.m., Sunday, Feb. 18, at the Bookhout Funeral Home, 357 Main St., Oneonta.
In lieu of flowers, charitable contributions may be made in Valerie's memory to Franklin Emergency Squad, 315 Main St., Franklin, NY 13775, Disabled American Veterans, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH 45250, or St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105.
To light a candle or send an online condolence, visit www.bookhoutfuneralhome.com.
Arrangements are by the Bookhout Funeral Home, Oneonta.
Published on February 13, 2018
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