Valerie Anne Chrisman, age 48, died unexpectedly near Rock Springs, Wyoming, on April 9th, 2020.
Valerie was born September 29th, 1971, in Bountiful, Utah to James and Charlynn Clark. Valerie became best friends with her future husband, John, while in the tenth grade at Boise High School. He often tells their children how he developed a crush from the moment they met.
Valerie’s family fondly remembers her frequent weekend visits home while attending Brigham Young University. She graduated with Honors with a Bachelor’s degree in Family Science and Psychology in 1992 and married that same year in Boise, Idaho.
Valerie worked both as a counselor and as a houseparent to at-risk adolescents for several years in Salt Lake City. She moved to Orlando, Florida in 1995, where she began work at a center for girls. Several of the young women she counseled remained in contact with her until her death. While working, she lovingly raised three daughters and concurrently attended graduate school. In 2000, Valerie graduated from the University of Central Florida with a Master of Social Work, and earned her certification as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker a few years later.
After eight years in Florida, she moved back to Boise in 2003, where she enjoyed a long career with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. Valerie worked in a variety of roles, from Clinician to Chief of Social Work. All of her work centered around advocating for children of abuse and neglect.
Valerie was a life-long, active participant in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Valerie appreciated the sense of community and was inspired by the potential for the church to improve lives; she remained optimistic the church would become a leader in social progress. She would say, “I know I am loved by a Heavenly Father.” She consistently showed unmatched compassion in the midst of adversity. She lived with joy and gratitude.
After four years of dating, Valerie married the love of her life, John Chrisman, on June 23rd, 2018. They settled in Longmont, CO where they loved exploring the outdoors and going on adventures. They spent their weekends making memories in the mountains: skiing, biking, and camping. She always made time for those she loved.
The world was big with Valerie in it. She lived with verve and was able to ignite enthusiasm for even the mundane. No project was too large. Her children grew up watching her patiently improve their home--installing flooring, adding archways, building cabinets--all with her own hands and with a vision she realized piece by piece through trial and error.
Valerie treasured her relationships with family and friends and inspired all around her to be their best selves. Her laugh was infectious and her insights put everything into perspective and balance--to talk with her was to be understood. To have Valerie as a friend was to have an anchor and an advocate. Valerie modeled integrity, authenticity, acceptance and joy throughout her life.
Valerie is survived by her husband, John Chrisman; their six children, Chelsie Burgess, Brianna Burgess, Jonah Chrisman, Camille Burgess, Matt Chrisman, and Ava Chrisman; her siblings Marlain Beaudette, Natalie Hopfenbeck, Ryan Clark, and Rachelle Steiger; as well as by her parents.
Due to the Coronavirus, funeral services were held at Howe Mortuary in Longmont, Colorado on Monday, April 20th, at 11 am MDT. The service was limited to Valerie’s husband, their children and her Latter-day Saint bishop. Valerie will be laid to rest at Greenlawn Cemetery in Berthoud, Colorado.
In lieu of flowers, we request that friends and family donate to Idaho Children’s Trust Fund in Valerie Anne Chrisman’s name (www.idahochildrenstrustfund.org).