Valerie Elva (Yeckley) Thomas, age 85, passed away Tuesday, December 29, 2020, in Coatesville, after suffering a heart attack while hospitalized with Covid-19. She was born January 14, 1935 in Altoona, the only child of the late Melvin and Emily (Focht) Yeckley.
Val met the love of her life Robert ‘Bob’ Thomas while both were students at Penn State University. They married in Aug. 1957 to formally begin a beautiful family life that included 4 children, 8 grandchildren and 2 great-grandchildren. In 1958 Bob and Val moved to Connecticut as Bob embarked on a long career in engineering with the Fafnir Bearing Company. Most of those years were spent in the small town of Burlington until 1979 when Bob accepted a promotion and they moved to Sleepy Hollow, IL in the far NW suburbs of Chicago. Once again, they thrived and made many life-long friends in the Midwest before retiring to the beautiful lakefront and golf community of Reynolds Plantation in GA in 1999. While Val was initially reluctant to leave Sleepy Hollow, they absolutely loved their new community and the people they befriended in the South. They golfed, boated and partied there until 2013 when Bob’s health declined and they moved to Freedom Village in eastern PA to be closer to family.
Val was a gifted musician, giving public piano recitals before the age of 10. She took this gift with her to State College where she doubled majored in Music and Art. Some years later she then became a piano teacher and shared her talents with many students and served as President of the Band Parents group at the HS in Burlington. She was a devoted wife and mother chasing after 3 sons and 1 daughter who never lost her fondness for the Penn State Nittany Lions. To this day, she still looked forward to halftime of the football games to listen to the marching Blue Band but was still upset that females were not allowed to be members back when she was a student!
Val is survived by her children: Craig (Jean) Thomas, Laurie (Wade) Runge, Keith (Diane) Thomas and Scott (Rachel) Thomas. Each of their kids had two children: Matthew, Jeffrey, Jessica, Kevin, Analise, Alec, Hunter and Emma with the recent welcome additions of great grandchildren Barrett and Eliza.
She was preceded in death by her husband Bob on Jan. 17, 2017.
The restrictions imposed by the pandemic will sadly not allow normal services at this time. Val will be laid to rest with Bob and many Yeckley family members at Carson Valley Cemetery in Duncansville. In lieu of a gathering, the family requests that you simply take a moment and reflect on a life well lived by a wonderful and loving wife, mother and grandma who instilled in her family the values of hard work, integrity and compassion for others.
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