It is with profound sadness that we announce the peaceful passing of Denise Valencia on June 30, 2020 at the age of 87, while living on the island of Vashon in the state of Washington.
Denise was born on December 23, 1932 in Lawrence, Massachusetts, to Louis and Cecile Gosselin. She was the middle child of five, having two brothers and two sisters. She spoke fluent French, as her family history traces back to the province of Quebec.
Some of Denise’s fondest childhood memories were of family gatherings at their camp at Forest Lake in Methuen. She would joyously recount her siblings’ games, the underwater teeter-totter her father built, and the funny memories of her aunts and uncle, who lived at camp with their Boston Terriers. Childhood was filled with good memories.
She graduated from the all-female State Teachers College, Bridgewater. Some of Denise’s longest lasting friendships were forged at Bridgewater.
Always an adventurous soul, Denise and a fellow Bridgewater classmate drove west across the country after graduation in a 1954 Volkswagen Beetle. When they arrived in Palo Alto, California in 1958, they went to the local elementary school and asked for a job — which they received on the spot!
Denise was active in the Catholic Graduates Club, where she met her future husband, Ed. They married in 1962 and remained so for 44 years until Ed’s passing in October 2006.
Denise was a dedicated wife and mother. She raised the family in Sunnyvale, California, where she was heavily involved with school activities, creating lasting memories and remarkable children. Ed and Denise shared a love of the outdoors, and took the family on yearly trips to Yosemite, where they camped at the Housekeeping Units along the Merced River.
Denise also thrived on entertaining and socializing, and was famous for the annual 4th of July bash attended by the entire neighborhood on the Valencia family front lawn.
Denise made friends everywhere she went, and indeed had a true “gift of gab.” She liked to hear people’s life stories and had genuine interest in what they had to share. Denise particularly loved babies and children, and thrived on congratulating new parents.
Her love of people and dedication to service is reflected in the over two decades of volunteer work she completed at community medical centers, first at El Camino Hospital, and later at Dominican Hospital in Santa Cruz, California.
After their children had grown, Denise and Ed enjoyed a long retirement in Santa Cruz, where they moved full-time in 1990. She loved the ocean and beach, talks with her friends at the local cafes, and the atmosphere and quirkiness of their new community. They traveled often in retirement, and particularly enjoyed vacationing in O’ahu and Washington DC.
Denise is survived by her sister, Edna Shirley, son Andy and his wife Jane, daughter Ann Jamaca and her husband Bill, son, John, seven grandchildren, and eleven great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her son, Jim, in 1990.
She will be dearly missed and forever in our hearts.
Donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, https://www.alz.org/.