Valerie Theresa Herlihy Lowry Smith

October 13,2023

Valerie Theresa Herlihy Lowry Smith, age 97, passed away peacefully on October 13, 2023, due to congestive heart failure.

Valerie was born July 5, 1926, in Los Angeles, California to George and Aileen Herlihy. She graduated from St. Luke’s High School in Los Angeles, California. Val worked for the California State Automobile Association before meeting her first love, John “Jack” Richard Lowry, at the Holy Family Young People’s Club in Glendale, California. They were married there on July 31, 1954, enjoying 17 years of marriage until Jack passed away in 1971. Val and Jack began raising their family of five in El Monte, California before Continental Telephone Company transferred Jack to Lake Tahoe. There, Val spent time as the cook for George Whittell High School enjoying the teenagers and their humor.

After Jack’s passing, Valerie moved the family to Gardnerville, Nevada. Though this meant she must commute to work at Harvey’s Casino in Lake Tahoe on narrow mountain roads, it was worth it to give her family opportunities in a small town where her kids could ride bikes to school, the town pool, or the library.

In 1981, Valerie met her second love, Lyle Smith. After Lyle asked her children’s permission, they were married on November 27, 1982, at St. Gall’s Catholic Church in Gardnerville, Nevada enjoying 15 wonderful years together until Lyle passed away in 1997. Soon after their marriage, they bought a travel trailer and began to explore our country. Val and Lyle formed the Sierra Nevada Chapter of the Good Sam’s Club making great friends and spending several years enjoying trips with their group. In 1990, they decided they were tired of shoveling snow and began spending their winters in Yuma, Arizona where they enjoyed long walks, swimming, and warm sunshine.

Bitten with the travel bug, Val made several trips and cruises to Europe first with Lyle and later with her high school friend, Elizabeth. One trip fulfilled her lifelong dream of seeing the Vatican.

After Lyle’s passing, Valerie moved to the Morningstar Community in Sparks, NV. Her weekly lunches with daughter, Kathie, were the highlight of her week. The waiters at their favorite Mexican restaurant always knew her and remembered exactly what she wanted to order. Most of all, Valerie loved her trips to family gatherings in Texas, Aptos, California, and the Oregon Coast.

Despite two cancer diagnoses and the many difficulties in her life, Valerie was ever the optimist. The glass was always full for her. She enjoyed many years of independent living until moving to the memory care unit where she received kind and loving care until her passing.

Valerie is preceded in death by her parents George and Aileen Herlihy, brother, Bruce Herlihy, her son, John
Lowry Jr. and husbands, John Lowry Sr. and Lyle F. Smith Sr. She is survived by her daughters Kathie Lowry, Cindy Currence (Jerry), Joyce Lowry, and Mary Donnell (Clay). She is also survived by her grandchildren, Ryan Currence, Christina Alliman (Zach), Ben Donnell (Anna), Lyndsy Donnell, Amber McJunkin, Layce Donnell and ten great grandchildren.

A funeral mass will be held July 10, 2024, at 11:00 at St. Galls Church in Gardnerville, NV.