Donald J. La Valley, 73, died peacefully after a courageous battle with Lewy body disease on Thursday, November 21, 2019 at the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home. Born in Springfield to the late James and Barbara (McNeil) La Valley, Don was a 1964 graduate of Cathedral High School and earned his BA in Accounting from Lowell Tech. He later went on to earn his MBA from Western New England University. After graduating from college, he married his high school sweetheart Kathleen and moved to Long Island where he worked for Grumman Aircraft until he entered the Army. He served proudly from 1969 to 1971 in Cam Rahn Bay, Vietnam.
Don had a long career as a comptroller for the Hartford Insurance Company until his retirement in 2009 as AVP of Finance. He received his CPCU designation for chartered property and casualty underwriting, was a member of the Insurance Accounting and Systems Association, and also served as President of the group.
Donald was very active in sports throughout his life. He played basketball and baseball while growing up in Springfield, men’s league softball for the Scantic Suns, coached youth hockey for Wilbraham Twin Meadows, and also softball and boy’s and girl’s basketball for his grandchildren. He loved traveling with his wife Kathleen and taking an annual golfing trip to Myrtle Beach with his senior group. He was a lifetime fan of the Boston Bruins and Celtics, New York Yankees and Giants.
Don leaves to cherish his memory, his wife of 51 years, Kathleen (Browsky) LaValley, his daughter Kristen Hicklen and her husband Jason, his son Michael LaValley and his wife Monika, his sister Joanne Koetsch and her husband Rick, and his brother-in-law Michael Browsky. Donald was so incredibly proud of his 9 grandchildren: Olivia, Emma, Mack, and Finn Hicklen, Annie Rowland-LaValley, Jared and Ellamae LaValley (their mother Kimberly Shoum), and Riya and Meara LaValley. He was predeceased by his son Patrick LaValley. Don also leaves his Breakfast Club buddies Bernie, Bob, and Roger and the many laughs and good times they had.
Donald’s family would like to thank every single staff member at the Soldiers Home, especially 2 North and 2 South. There is truly no greater place on earth for our Veterans to be treated with the honor and respect they so deserve.
Visitation will be held on Tuesday, November 26th from 4:00 – 7:00 PM at Wilbraham Funeral Home, 2551 Boston Rd., Wilbraham. Family and friends may gather for Don’s Funeral Mass on Wednesday, November 27th at 11:30 AM at St. Paul Roman Catholic Church, 235 Dwight Rd., Springfield. Burial with Military Honors will follow at 1:00 PM in MA Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery, Agawam. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home, 110 Cherry St., 2 North, Holyoke, MA 01040 Attn: Bridget.
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