Funeral services for Mrs. Valerie Paige Sturrock Pfeiffer, 48, of San Antonio, Texas will be held on Friday, July 19, 2013, at 2:00 PM at Rock Springs Presbyterian Church in Nacogdoches. Burial will follow at Rock Springs Cemetery.
Mrs. Pfeiffer was born on April 11, 1965, in Jasper, Texas to Bob and June Patterson Sturrock. She passed away on Sunday, July 14, 2013, in San Antonio, Texas.
Visitation will be private.
The following is a loving eulogy from her husband, Mark Pfeiffer.
I met Valerie in January of 1986. She was interning at Texas School for the Blind in Austin. I had been volunteering with the Texas Youth Commission half-way house for boys, who were living in a dorm on the School for the Blind campus due to a fire at their usual residence.
It was a Sunday morning, and I was there to pick up some of the boys and take them to church. Unknown to me was that Valerie had invited them to go to church with her at a different church. They insisted that she come along with us instead and she agreed.
When we met each other, her voice was so soft that I could not understand her when she told me her name – even after three tries. I decided I would pretend I understood after the third time, and try to pick up her name from someone else.
After church, the boys wanted to swing by the shell of their former house to try to salvage any of their personal belongings. While they were back in their rooms, I looked back down the hall to the entry area and saw Valerie gingerly tip-toeing through the rubble, and admired her grace and femininity.
We delivered the boys back to the blind school campus and then went to lunch at a restaurant on the corner of Anderson Lane and Burnet Road in Austin. We talked about important issues in life and noted how much we had in common. Thereafter, as we drove around Austin, me showing her various sites, I had the impression that “this is the woman I will marry.” I began debating with myself that such a notion was ridiculous, “you can’t know that about a person on the first day.”
We began spending time together almost every day. At the end of her six week internship, we stood together outside her dorm room, and she asked me to come visit her in Nacogdoches. I remember thinking that this was the turning point. If I said no, it would mean I would probably never see her again. But if I said yes, it would mean we were really serious, and this relationship would enter a new phase. I said yes. It was only a few months later that I proposed.
Valerie was very indecisive. We laughed many times later recounting my proposal and her response. When I asked her to marry me, she said “I guess so.” I said, “I guess so? I am asking you to marry me. I need a solid yes or no.” She replied: “Well, if you want me to.” “No,” I said give me a yes or no. Will you marry me?” And she finally said, “Yes, I will marry you.”
Valerie was a wonderful person in so many ways. I have never met a person who better personified God’s mercy and compassion for the weak, the oppressed, the underprivileged, the hurting ,and the disadvantaged. This was such an incredibly beautiful quality, and something I loved about her. Of course, the other side of this wonderful quality was her desire to bring home every stray dog or cat she encountered, and every animal up for adoption.
Valerie was always spirit-led and prophetic. She seemed to have dreams of things that would later happen. She would send encouragement to people or call at the exact moment people needed it most.
Valerie was the best conceivable mother to our children. I can’t imagine anyone more loving, more compassionate, more creative, more genuine, and more fun. She made our home life warm and comfortable.
I always smiled when I heard various people from all the different places we lived tell me that Valerie was their best friend. She became the best friend of people wherever she went.
There was something about Valerie and her spirit of humility and vulnerability. Complete strangers knew they could trust her and would start telling her their life story and all of their problems, even in places like the grocery store. She was a counselor to so many people, even our kids’ friends.
Valerie was also very gifted artistically. She could sit and paint a beautiful picture with ease. She drew wonderful pictures, and had a real knack for color and decoration. I also remember driving down country roads with her, and the kids would ask her to tell them a story. She would begin making up and telling a story on the spot, weaving together a wonderful tale, and bringing it to a perfect end as though she had just read an award-winning short story for children rather than making it all up as she went.
She prayed for our children’s spouses before the kids were even born. Her favorite prayer for our kids was “put hedges of protection around them, keep them safe from all harm and evil.” She had the habit of randomly starting to pray with you without warning. She loved the Old Testament, especially the book of Isaiah. She was very proud of the fact that she had never touched alcohol. She always communicated agreement and support even if she didn’t agree.
Valerie was born to teach blind children. She was perfect for it. She was passionate, caring and highly professional. Her students all literally loved her. When annual reassignments were made, parents of her students would lobby the administration to leave their children with Valerie.
Valerie loved quilts, and collected them. She loved Jim Shore art pieces. With her decorations and cooking, she made Christmas such a wonderful time for our family. Christmas Eve was her favorite day of the year. Her favorite wild animal was the rabbit. She loved the piney woods of East Texas. She loved fireplaces. She liked wildflowers and Alstroemeria Lilly’s. She liked yellow peanut M&Ms because they were the happiest. She loved scented candles. She was a voracious reader. She loved historical romantic fiction. Perhaps her favorite material possession was her Kindle. She enjoyed picnics, rocking chairs, vanilla fragrance and lots of pillows. She always ordered a Route 44 Coke Zero with extra ice. She liked Debussy’s “Clare de Lune.” She liked movies “The Saint” and “Last of the Mohicans.” She wore Este Lauder’s perfume “Beautiful.” She liked clothes from Coldwater Creek. She liked sapphires.
She played piano. She also wrote a novel that we hope to publish in her honor. She also had a wonderful singing voice. One time before we had children, we were driving down the highway singing with something on the radio. Her voice didn’t seem very nice, and she seemed to be struggling with the high notes. I suggested she sing an octave lower, and when she did, her voice was so beautiful.
Valerie and I enjoyed so many things together, and shared the same taste in home decoration, furniture, art, religion, politics, and enjoyed antique shopping, trips to Colorado, and Chinese food. We liked to watch each episode of a continuing TV series all at once. Our song was “Close to You” by the Carpenters.
She had beautiful eyes, beautiful skin, and beautiful hair.
Valerie didn’t really like traveling, but out of love and dedication to me, she joined me in traveling the world. We lived in the UAE, Cyprus, and even for a short while in Iran. We traveled together to Singapore, Oman, Iran, Egypt, Kenya, Turkey, Greece, Germany, Austria, Switzerland and England.
In the last years, health problems robbed Valerie of much of her joy and vitality. She told us that she would be with us as long as we needed her, but she really looked forward to going home and being with Jesus. Looking back on it now, I can see a slow deterioration that accelerated in the last months and weeks. She restfully, peacefully in her sleep, left us and joined the Lord.
Valerie, I love you and will love you forever. I miss you terribly. Thank you for making my life rich and fulfilling beyond measure. We will never forget you.