Richard Rudolph Valenta
Passed away quietly as the sun went down around 8 pm on Thursday, April 7th, 2022. He was 95.
Loving husband of Kathleen (nee Vatterott) for 53 years; dear father of Richard J. and Martha L. (Tim Meehan); proud grandpa of Sarah and Elizabeth Hoffer; sweet brother, brother-in-law, uncle, great-uncle and friend.
Rich moved with his family from a bungalow on Wanda to a farm house on Hurstgreen in Webster Groves when he was 10. There he attended Holy Redeemer school. Later he attended St. Louis University High School (SLUH). After World War II broke out, an older neighbor suggested that Rich try to get into the United States Merchant Marine Academy (U.S.M.M.A) at Kings Point, which he did. After graduating in 1947 he fought in both WWII and the Korean War. Between wars he worked for Scullin Steel. Eventually he took a sales job with Union Electric (now Ameren). In 1968 he married Kathleen Vatterott. His father died that same year. A dedicated son, he continued to check on his mom, Helen Valenta, every weekend after his father died, often bringing Richard J. and Martha along. He retired from Union Electric in the 1970s. He remained in the Navy Reserve, eventually retiring as a Commander. He then worked for Vatterott Construction until retiring in 2012. In the early 2000s he began to play a pivotal role in the lives of his grandchildren, who lived with him. This was the job that seemed to bring him even more delight than all others.
He will be remembered for his consistency, smile, singing, and dry sense of humor.
In his final act of selflessness, Rich Valenta donated his remains to SLU medical school. Therefore, instead of a funeral, we will hold a memorial Mass for him.
Services: Gathering reception and Memorial Mass will be held on Saturday, April 23rd at St. Gerard Majella Catholic Church, 1969 Dougherty Ferry Road, St. Louis, MO 63122. Gathering reception from 10:30 am-11 am with the Mass to follow at 11 am. Military Honor Guard at 12 Noon with a lunch reception (Food, Music, and Memories) immediately following.
In lieu of flowers, please consider having a Mass said for him or making a tax-deductible donation to the US Merchant Marine Academy Alumni Association and Foundation in memory of Richard R. Valenta/Class of 1947. Please make your check payable to “USMMA AAF” (Tax ID # 11-6037948) with “Richard R. Valenta/1947” in the memo section/notes. Mail to: 300 Steamboat Road, Kings Point, NY 11024. Or make a donation online at www.usmmaalumni.com > Giving > Make a Donation www.usmmaalumni.com.
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