Valeria “Val” Murray joined her husband Jack in a heavenly dance on July 31, 2018, at the age of 85. She was a third generation Montanan who went from a homestead with no running water or electricity to surfing the web with a smart phone. Val was born in December1932, in Miles City, to Clara and Joe Barley. She was raised on the Barley Brothers ranch 14 miles northeast of Rosebud. Val rode a horse six miles to Sand Creek Elementary School and to the closest neighbors. She skipped third grade and graduated Valedictorian from Rosebud High School in 1950.
Valeria married young and had three children: Sandy, Brand “Bing” and Terry. She attended Business College in Great Falls. As a single parent, Val moved to Miles City in 1960 and worked for Richardson Implement. While there, she met and later married Clif Frank of Billings. They entertained friends and family and traveled. Clif and Val developed Riddles Cliff on the Stillwater River and built a cabin there before divorcing. In 1999, she met and married the love of her life, John “Jack” Murray. They drove the backwoods of Montana, attended cultural events in Billings, and enjoyed winters in Tucson, Arizona.
Valeria was an elegant lady who enjoyed spending time with family and friends and meeting new people. She was self-employed as a property manager for over 50 years. Val was active in Newcomer groups in both Billings and Tucson, was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and was active in the Association of Research and Enlightenment for 30 years. Val was a member of Unity Church of Christianity and served several terms as Board Treasurer. Her hobbies included sewing, baking, bowling, bridge, reading and garage sales.
Val is survived by daughter Sandy (Pierre) Jomini and their children Natalie (Scott) Stroud, Paul Jomini (Taylor Wilson) and great-granddaughter Clara. She is also survived by son Terry (Heidi) Caekaert and their children Sam Caekaert, Eli Caekaert, Jeff (Charissa) Rector, Pat Rector, Betsy Rector and great-grandchildren Buster and Louise. Valeria is survived by grandson Taylor (Sarah Yarlott) Caekaert. She is also survived by Jack’s children, Jeffrey Murray, Leslie (Clifford) Cooke and Lindsay (Sonia) Murray and Jack’s grandchildren Erik (Sibora Gjecovi) Cooke, Jeremy Cooke, Amy (Peter Weege) Cooke, Taran (Kody) Murray, and Jack’s great-grandchildren. Val is also survived by Clif’s children, Karen Murray and Pat (Kelly) Frank and Clif’s grandchildren Tawni (John) Sullivan, Chaudel (Doug) Baker, Ione Marie (Tom) Harrington, Dev Murray and Clif’s great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents, Joe and Clara Barley; brothers, James “Jim” and Willis “Bill” Richardson; son Brand “Bing” Caekaert; and husband John “Jack” Murray.
Sage advice from Val: “Don’t spend the money until the check clears the bank” and “Just because you’re shopping doesn’t mean you have to buy.”
Special thanks to Heidi and Sonia for their dedicated and loving care of Val in her last days. Our thanks also to RiverStone Hospice.
Cremation has taken place. A celebration of life will be at 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 18, at Unity Church of Christianity at 9 – 14th St. W. in Billings.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to RiverStone Hospice, Family Services, or Planned Parenthood.