Coluni, Valentine Eugene

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Valentine Eugene Coluni passed away on December 22nd, 2022 at LewisGale Hospital Montgomery in Blacksburg, VA. He died surrounded by his loving family after having a heart attack and dealing with declining health.

Val was born in Amsterdam, New York to Jean (Martuscello) and John Coluni on September 26, 1933. He treasured his experience of growing up in a tightly knit working class Italian neighborhood. After graduating from high school, he enlisted in the Army at 17 and served in Korea for two years. He attended St. Lawrence University in upstate New York and graduated in 1959. He was active in student government and part of Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He was known for his fun-loving antics and jitterbugging skills which played a key role in winning the heart of Ginny Blethen who became his wife in 1961. Val earned his master’s degree from Cornell University.

Val derived great joy from his work and had a rewarding career in Human Resources at companies including GE, Burroughs Corporation, Itek and Unisys. His favorite job was working in international for Burroughs where he traveled extensively in Latin America and Asia Pacific. He enjoyed learning about different cultures and solving unique problems in these countries. At the end of his career, he worked as a student advisor in the Deans Office of the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He loved interacting with students and was a valued mentor. In his retirement, he volunteered with AARP advocating for retired people with state legislators and wrote a newsletter column sharing his perspective. Val was a warm and loving person and always took the time to lift others with a smile, greeting or encouraging word. Cultivating relationships with others was what he valued most.

Val and Ginny had three children, Bobbi, John and Maribeth. Val was an engaged parent and known by his kids for equal measures of silly fun and sage advice. Through job transfers, the family moved over a dozen times and created homes in many different communities including Rochester, NY, Grosse Pointe, MI, Madison, NJ, Sarasota, FL and finally Blacksburg, VA. One of their greatest joys were the many summers spent at the family cottage at Sebec Lake, Maine. Val loved to have the family gather and enjoy the lake and mountains and happy hour at this special place. Val and Ginny took great advantage of all Maine had to offer with trips to the coast, outdoor concerts, summer theater and watching the sunset over the lake.

Val is survived by Ginny and two daughters, Bobbi Coluni (husband Rick Witten) of Ann Arbor, MI and Maribeth Coluni (husband Herbie Hypes) of Christiansburg, VA and was preceded in death by his son, John Coluni. Val and Ginny have five grandchildren, Sabriah Coluni, Omar and Levi Hypes of Christiansburg, VA, Forest Witten of Ann Arbor, MI and Dominic Coluni of Grosse Pointe Woods, MI. Over half these grandkids have ‘Valentine’ as their middle name, a testament to just how much Val was cherished.

A celebration of Val’s life will be held at St. Mary’s Church in Blacksburg, VA on Saturday, January 28th, 2023 at 11:00 am. Instead of sending flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to the International Alzheimer’s Foundation or to a fund of your choice.

Honor Val’s memory by raising a glass in gratitude for life and performing an act of kindness or service for another. As Val would say ‘Keep the Faith!’.