Henry P. Valerych, beloved husband, father and grandfather, was called home on December 25, 2019. Henry, the seventh son of a seventh son, was born on the family farm in Oakfield, NY on July 27, 1927. He was a quiet, gentle man, but a force for change, love and respect.
Hank, as he was affectionately known is survived by his beloved wife of almost 64 years; Anna Schiavone Valerych; his cherished children Michelle (Charles Joseph) Mahler of Batavia, Henry Peter Valerych of Corfu and Mary Ann Valerych, at home; his loving grandchildren Joseph Henry Mahler of Batavia and Sara Anne Mahler of Buffalo. He is also survived by his dear in-laws; Rose and Frank O’Geen, Theresa (the late Russell) Cravatta, Jeanette and Bruce Tehan and many cherished nieces and nephews.
The baby of 12 children, predeceased by all, he surely had a joyous Christmas as he was reunited with his parents; Peter and Mary Valery; his sisters Josephine (Anton) Grylicki, Anna (Anthony) Figelow, Violet (Sal) LoCastro, Gladys (Baldon) Palazynski, Martha (James) Arena; brothers Raymond (Elaine) Valery, Chester (Helen) Valery, Edmund, Leo, John and Walter Valery, as well as his mother and father-in-law Nicholas and Maria Michele Schiavone; in-laws Joseph (Ida (Michael Adamus) Schiavone, Peter (Catherine) Schiavone, Lucy (Mario) Maloni and Mary (Joseph) Yacono.
During WWII, at age 17, Hank quit school and joined the U.S. Navy. He served aboard the USS Mosopelea ATF 158, which was commissioned on his 18th birthday. He didn’t care much for the sea and after two years in the Navy he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He enjoyed Army life, serving around the world, including Korea and Germany, attaining the rank of Master Sergeant before retiring in 1966. He then worked at and ultimately retired from Graham Manufacturing in Batavia, where he was an active member of the Graham Retiree’s Group, serving as Treasurer of many years.
Hank lived a life of service. As one of the Genesee County NYSARC founders, Hank and his wife helped create and grow the agency from its inception, spending a lifetime in service to people with disabilities and their families. Hank held every office and served on nearly every committee through the years. He chaired the Membership Drive, the Genesee ARC Bowl-A-Thon and the ARC Tournament raffle, helping raise more than $500,000 in his lifetime to support and expand programs and services to individuals with developmental disabilities. After 52 years on the Board of Directors, Hank recently stepped down from his leadership position and was granted Board Member Emeritus status. Hank is forever grateful to the agency employees, particularly direct care staff who truly make a difference in the lives of so many in our community.
A current member of Resurrection Parish, he was an usher at St. Anthony’s Church prior to its closure. He was a member of the Holy Name Society. A Fourth Degree Knight of Capadonno Assembly, Knights of Columbus Msgr. Kirby Council #325, he held multiple offices, including Vocations Chairman and was Treasurer until his death. Hank was also a life member of the Batavia VFW Post #1602, a member of the Down Syndrome Parent Support Group of Genesee County and long-term Agency Representative on the policy setting NYSARC Board of Governors. A modest man, he focused on his mission and was always surprised when recognition came his way. His many honors included being Geneseean of the Year in 1993 (along with his wife, Ann – the first couple so honored), recipient of the 2002 WNY Developmental Disabilities Awareness Day Family / Caregiver / Advocate Award and most recently receiving the 2019 Spirit of Arc Award.
Friends are invited to call on Friday January 3, 2020 from 4:00-7:00PM at Gilmartin Funeral Home & Cremation Company, Inc. 329-333 West Main Street Batavia, New York 14020. A 12:00PM Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Saturday January 4th at Resurrection Parish 303 E. Main St. in Batavia.
Flowers are gratefully declined. Memorials are suggested to the Arc of Genesee Orleans, program to be determined www.arcgo.org 64 Walnut St. in Batavia. As Membership Chair, Hank would be delighted if you chose to join or renew your membership. For more information please call (585) 343-8260 or to leave a message of condolence visit www.gilmartinfuneralhome.com. Arrangements completed by Gilmartin Funeral Home & Cremation Company, Inc., 329-333 West Main Street, Batavia, NY 14020.