James Joseph Valla (Jim), 91, passed away at Birchwood Terrace in Burlington on Ash Wednesday, March 6, 2019. He was born on June 30, 1927 in Binghamton, N.Y. son of the late Matthew R. and Helen C. (Foley) Valla. Jim married the former Mary T. Hopkins on July 2nd in 1955. He proudly served our country during WWII.
Jim received his bachelor’s and master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Clarkson University in Potsdam, N.Y. His forty-year career included working for General Electric, North American Electronics and IBM from which he retired in 1991.
Jim’s chief passions were family, church and community. All his interests revolved around these. He was a devoted and faithful husband and father. He loved activities with his family like swimming, camping, cooking, dancing, ice skating, sailing, snowshoeing, photography, singing, yoyos and traveling. Jim instilled intellectual curiosity into the minds of his children. Jim was a member of Holy Family Catholic Church in Essex Junction since 1968. His involvement included serving as a Eucharistic minister, instructing faith formation, singing in the choir and serving as an usher. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus for over 25 years and was awarded an Honorary Life Membership. Jim volunteered with VITA and prepared tax returns for the elderly for over 15 years. He was known to his friends for his jolly personality and his dedication. He will be greatly missed by his wife and family.
He is survived by his loving and devoted wife of 64 years, Mary Theresa Valla, a Mayflower Descendent of Stephen Hopkins, a son James J. Valla, Jr. of Worcester, Mass, seven daughters, Mary Ann Valla of South Burlington, Theresa Marie Valla of New York City, NY, Margaret Helen and Keith Errol Barnette of Newtown Square, Penn., Pamela Ann and Daniel Boudah of Wake Forest, N.C., Kathleen Marie Clarke of San Jose, Calif., Beth Ann Robtoy and spouse Richard Miller of Clifton Park, N.Y., Michele Maria and Paul Chisholm of Essex, nine grandchildren, Jeremy and Grace Boudah, Seamus and Liam Chisholm, Nicole, Ashley and Sarah Michele Clarke, Colton and Trenton Robtoy, his sister Mary Therese and spouse Clyde Verbryck of Vestal, N.Y. Jim was predeceased by his father Matthew R. Valla and his mother Helen C. Valla, his brothers, M. Robert Valla and Donald J. Valla.
Jim was a veteran of World War II. Jim also served in the Army Reserves from 1951 until 1960. The discipline and patriotism learned in the Army never left him. Jim was honored as Grand Marshall of the Essex Junction Memorial Day Parade in 2010.
The family would like to thank Rev. Charles Ranges, Essex Knights of Columbus, Catholic Daughter Court Fanny Allen, Dr. Diane Rippa, Essex Rescue, the neighbors of Forest Road, Essex Jct., UVM Medical Center, Birchwood Terrace and Department of Veterans Affairs for all the care, love and support they gave during Jim’s times of need.
Visiting hours will be held on Wednesday, March 13, 2019 from 5 to 8 p.m. at A W Rich Funeral Home – Essex Chapel, 57 Main St., Essex Jct., VT 05452. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday, March 14, 2019 at 11 a.m. at Holy Family Church with Reverend Charles Ranges, S.S.E. officiating. Family and friends are invited to a reception in the parish hall following the Mass.
Inurnment will be held in the spring at the convenience of the family in the Vermont Veterans Memorial Cemetery, Randolph where full military honors will be accorded this WWII veteran. Memorial contributions in Jim’s memory may be made to Disabled Vets, Attn: Gift Processing, P.O. Box 14301, Cincinnati, OH, 45250-0301. The family invites you to share your memories and condolences by visiting www.awrfh.com.