Valerie Cheney OSB, age 88, died on Saturday, October 29, 2022. A wake service will be held at 7:00 PM, on Tuesday, November 1, 2022 and the Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 2:00 PM, on Wednesday, November 2, both in Bishop Marty Memorial Chapel in Yankton, SD. Burial will be in the monastery cemetery. Arrangements are under the direction of the Wintz & Ray Funeral Home and Cremation Service in Yankton.
Marie Darlene Cheney was born June 5, 1934, to Walter and Mary (Betz) Cheney in Watertown, South Dakota. She was the youngest of four children. She went to Immaculate Conception School in Watertown and Mount Marty High School in Yankton, South Dakota for her final 3 years of high school.
Marie entered Sacred Heart Monastery in August 1952. She started classes at Mount Marty College in 1952 and graduated in 1965 after years of summer courses. She became a novice on June 28, 1953, and received the name, Valerie. She made her first profession on June 29, 1954, and her perpetual profession on June 29, 1957.
Valerie continued her education by attaining a Master of Arts in Teaching (Spanish) from Purdue University, West Lafayette, Indiana in 1973, a Master of Education from the University of Nebraska in 1979, and a Master of Religious Education from the University of St. Thomas in Houston, Texas.
Valerie’s primary ministry to the Church was as an educator. She served as a teacher and principal from 1954-1998 in Yankton, Tabor, Sioux Falls, and Chamberlain, South Dakota; Glen Ullin, North Dakota; Lincoln and Hartington, Nebraska; and San Pedro Carcha, Guatemala, Central America. After years of ministry in education and caring for her mother, she decided to work in pastoral care at Avera St. Benedict’s Hospital in Parkston, South Dakota.
Valerie found humor in life’s ups and downs. Wherever she went laughter and smiles followed. The humorous stories of her life were shared often with others, and her repertoire of jokes seemed endless. She was a staunch advocate for the unborn and had a great love for her family. She was especially close to her mother and often shared stories of growing up with an older sister and two older brothers.
Valerie is survived by her Benedictine community, and several nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents and siblings.