Valeria Josephine Magdalena "Val" Gurauskas Washalefsky "Wash your left ski" passed away on Aug. 27, 2009 at Bartlett Regional Hospital.
Val was born to Lithuanian parents, Konstantine and Mary Gurauskas, on Oct. 2, 1925 in Michigan. She graduated from Shenandoah High School in Pennsylvania in 1943. She married Julian Washalefsky and they raised four children, two boys and two girls.
After her children were grown, Val returned to school and pursued a career in nursing. In 1977, she embarked on a solo journey to Alaska to continue her career as an LPN at Bartlett Memorial Hospital. In addition to nursing, Val worked many years as an Avon representative. She enjoyed the social network that this helped create, along with bringing beauty into peoples' lives, her family said.
Val loved being an Alaska woman. She was an avid fisherman; she was chased by a moose; she photographed bears every chance she got; and she enjoyed the independence that living in Alaska offered her. Val dedicated her time every summer for a great many years as a volunteer for the local AARP chapter. She took great pride in sharing her love of Alaska with the numerous visitors she encountered. She made sure their experiences in Juneau were as fulfilling as possible, sometimes taking people on tours herself.
In 2000. she was named "Volunteer of the Year" by Lt. Governor Fran Ulmer. At Christmastime each year, she devoted her time coordinating and working at the gift wrap service through AARP at Nugget Mall. Val became a sales representative for another company, Lunds Lites and just like the candles offered by this company, Val had a warm glow and brought light into every life she touched, her family said.
Throughout her years in Juneau, many families trusted Val to watch after their homes and to take care of their pets. They could always count on their house being a little cleaner than it was when they left. Val retired from Bartlett Hospital in 1989. After a short time, she decided retirement did not suit her and she took a part time job as a cashier at K-Mart. When they closed their doors, she moved over to Super Bear, where she worked until she was 81.
A friend once said that Val was a model for keeping on with the walk of life. She was a Eucharistic Minister for St. Paul's Catholic Church. Her values were so true and her faith was so strong that any encounter with Val, no matter how brief, left a deep impact. Simply being in her presence was comforting. She will be missed, her family said.
Valeria was preceded in death by her husband, Julian Washalefsky; her brother, Albert Gurauskas; and her daughter, Val Roberts. She is survived by three children: Julian "Jay" Washalefsky, Angelina Burton, and John Washalefsky; her grandchildren: Tina, Michelle, Tom, Karenza, Jennifer, Julian, Jacob and Kyra. She was blessed with seven great-grandchildren. Val also is survived by numerous extended families and dear friends.
A mass will be held at the Shrine of St. Therese chapel at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 3. Immediately following, a potluck will be held in the lodge. Please direct all inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org