MISSOULA — Alvera Elizabeth Anderson Valach was born in Missoula on Mother's Day 1930 to Violet Burkhart and Roy Anderson. She, her younger brother Ted and their parents lived in an area of Missoula known as the Slants. An early memory Alvera shared was when a young man was herding sheep near their home and he let the kids hold the baby lambs. Alvera's mother passed away in 1935. A few years later, her father married Esther Johnson who lovingly raised the children as her own.
The family moved to Bozeman where her father owned a Ford dealership. Alvera had a full young life, which included delivering cars for her dad. In school Alvera enjoyed activities including cheerleading, art, music and various clubs. She was an active and popular girl with a happy, outgoing nature and adventurous spirit. She loved attending class reunions planned with Gallatin High School alumni.
At Montana State College Alvera was proud to be a member of the Alpha Omicron Pi (AOII) Sorority and was a cheerleader for the Bobcats. Rumor has it that she majored in parties and fun while sometimes continuing her studies. It was through a group of classmates that Alvera met Chuck Valach, an upperclassman from Lewistown, and fell in love. They were married on Easter Sunday, 1951 at Hope Lutheran Church in Bozeman. Life then took them to Missoula where they settled and raised their children Tom, Joyce and Nancy.
Through the years Alvera enjoyed neighborhood get-togethers, school and community events, Flathead Lake, visits with relatives, camping in the Shasta trailer, skiing Snow Bowl, and much more with Chuck and the kids. Alvera was a talented seamstress, making clothes for her children and herself. She also crafted men's ties and bow ties for sale with her friend Sylvia. She was a good cook and made the absolute best chocolate chip cookies, deviled eggs and Swedish pancakes. While friends appreciated her Tomato Aspic salads her kids did not.
Alvera was one of 15 very close first cousins. They enjoyed gathering for family reunions and celebrating their Swedish heritage.
In the 1960s Alvera started working at Sentinel High School. She was a fun and dedicated study hall monitor, attendance clerk, and secretary to the assistant principals in charge of discipline. Many have said if it wasn’t for Mrs. V, they might never have finished high school. She was a loyal Spartan fan, participating in school shenanigans and pep assemblies.
Even though Alvera and Chuck were Bobcat alumni, they were dedicated Montana Grizzly fans. In her retirement, she enjoyed Griz football and basketball games, theatre productions, AOII activities, PEO, reading, being a grandma, travel, and especially exercising with her dear friends at the Women's Club.
When Chuck passed away in 2016, Alvera sold the family home on Dearborn and moved to the Village Senior Residence. (She never forgave her children for taking her car away.) She was loved by the Village staff and residents and taught them that oatmeal was now and forever more to be called ‘Cowboy Mush’.
Alvera’s loved ones include her children Tom Valach and Jason Smith of Cathedral City, California; Tim and Joyce Valach Murphy of Whitefish; John and Nancy Valach Eiler of Juneau, Alaska; grandchildren Weston Eiler and Luke Eiler of Juneau; and Hayley Murphy Ohlrich and her husband Eric Ohlrich of Bend, Oregon.
“Mom, we hope you’re dancing, driving a red convertible, doing aqua aerobics and planning family reunions in Heaven.”
Per her wishes cremation has taken place. An early summer Celebration of Life is being planned. Memorials in her honor may be made to Missoula Children’s Theatre (MCT, Inc.) or Immanuel Lutheran Church in Missoula.