Today we mourn the loss of our great matriarch, Valerie Faye Dunn. She passed Saturday, July 25, 2020.

Sorrow is insufficient to describe the pain of loss we feel. Our world forever lessened. Our lives a bit less sane; we are crazy, crazy for feeling so blue.

She was born Feb. 19, 1941, to Edna Mae (Sink) Frank and Oliver W. Frank, in Kamiah. Valerie was one of 10 brothers and sisters, all of whom preceded her except for one sister, Charlene Frank, of Adrian, Mich., the last little Indian.

Val married Hap Stelljes in 1956 and together they had four daughters, Terri Harrington, Debbie Hart, Deanna Squires and Leslie Roberts.

In 1967, Val married Bob Dunn. They were together until he passed in 2004. Together they had one son, Robert Dunn, and our southern sister, Mona Lyn Boyer, of Mississippi.

Over the course of their life together, Val and Bob lived many places. They traveled extensively and were partners in all aspects of life, including business. For more than 20 years, they owned and operated the Thunderbird Smokeshops here on the Nez Perce Reservation.

Mom loved country music, Bud Light and playing darts. She was an active member of the Fraternal Order of Eagles and a competitive dart player well into her later years — something she shared with my sister, Leslie, and her husband, Tim, who cared for Mom throughout her illness. We cannot express the gratitude felt for their sacrifice and attention to our beloved mother.

A number of family preceded Mom in passing: her eldest daughter, Terri Lee; her grandsons, Ty Douglass and Chase Brian; as well as her son-in-law, Ron. A piece of Mom went with them all, as there was nothing she loved so much as her family.

Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Friday at Malcom’s Brower-Wann, 1711 18th St., Lewiston. Flowers or memorials can be sent to the funeral home. Mom loved roses. There will be a graveside service and, afterward, a covered-dish dinner at the Lewiston Fraternal Order of Eagles. A stream of the services will be available for those who are not able to attend.

Hold your mother tightly. There is no poetry that can express the part of you that leaves when she goes.