The family of Valeria Smith celebrate a life that touched so many. Valeria passed away peacefully on December 28, 2020 from causes incident to age. At the time of her death, she was 99 years old and in the care of her daughter and granddaughter in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
Valeria made the most of her extended time with those she loved. She stayed active, enjoyed her family, and embraced a wide community of devoted friends. Her long life was exceeded only by the long list of people who knew her and will continue to hold her memory close in their hearts.
Valeria Marie Mesecher Smith was born in Paragould, Arkansas on February 5, 1921 to Ira Mesecher and Myrtle (Ballantine) Mesecher. She was the last graduate of Knoxville High School, class of 1938.
In 1939, she was united in marriage to Charles (Charlie) Alan Smith. They raised two daughters and celebrated 55 years together before Charlie’s death in 1994.
For nearly 20 years Valeria ran an informal, warm, and welcoming childcare center from her home in Knoxville, Iowa. There, an entire generation of children grew up watching Betty Lou and the House with the Magic Window before school, playing in the backyard sandbox after school, and enjoying Valeria’s signature peanut butter and sugar sandwiches. Today, these grown children form a tight network of lucky alumni and every member regards Valeria and Charlie a treasured part of their extended family.
Valeria had many talents, each of which she pursued enthusiastically for much of her life. A gifted seamstress, she made clothes of her own design and created stunning bridesmaid dresses for many weddings over the years. Her impressive skills can also be found in the quilts she made for friends and family, each including countless handmade stitches; these treasured quilts are dispersed across the country, beloved by their recipients.
For decades, a corner of Valeria’s dining room served as her sewing space and was wallpapered with an ever-expanding collection of greeting cards, children’s drawings, and pictures of the people she loved. For many women in town, this makeshift studio was a center of activity, humming not only with the sound of Valeria’s sewing machine, but with good conversation and steady laughter.
When she wasn’t creating with her needle and thread, Valeria baked. She was the go-to person for custom wedding and graduation cakes which were always crafted with that special combination of skill, love, and extra frosting. Long before the Food Network, she was Knoxville’s own celebrity baker.
A woman of deep faith, Valeria was a longtime member of the First Christian Church in Knoxville. Ever devoted to the principle of service, she worked with a small and dedicated community of women – serving where needed, her hands prepared many meals and funeral dinners. She also was involved with many other Kiwanas Club community events, planning meal menus, shopping for ingredients, and making lunches that everyone raved about.
Having lived through the Great Depression and World War II, Valeria understood the value of community and cultivated a wide circle of dear friends. She loved having people drop by, and for years hosted card games and sewing groups in her home. These bonds of friendship enriched her life, as her friendship enriched the lives of so many.
Valeria was preceded in death by her parents; an infant son; her husband; three siblings, William, Merle, and Dorothy; and her granddaughter, Diana Pierson Larkin. Family that continues to cherish her memory include her daughters, Donetta Smith O’Neil of Le Mars, Iowa and Janet Smith Bremer (Klaus) of Henderson, Nevada; three grandchildren, Sara Bremer Sprecher (Michael) of Council Bluff, Iowa, Emily Bremer Kidd (Robert) of Reno, Nevada, and Robert Pierson of Le Mars, Iowa; six great-grandchildren, Gillian Sprecher, Harrison Sprecher, Beckett Sprecher, Clara Kidd, Amanda Pierson, and Charles Pierson (Nikki); and two great-great grandchildren, Jordan Pierson, and Miley Pierson.
A limited service will be held Thursday, December 31, 2020 at Winfield in Knoxville, Iowa – Visitation, 12:00 - 1:30 pm, Service at 1:30 pm. Valeria will rest in peace next to her husband at the Sandyville Cemetery near Sandyville, Iowa. Her generosity, quick wit, and tireless spirit will be deeply missed. May her memory be inspiring and eternal.
WINFIELD FUNERAL HOME ~ KNOXVILLE, IOWA
Leroy Winfield, Funeral Director 641-842-5126