Richard "Dick" Andy LaValley, 86, died at home Monday August 3, 2020.
Dick was born May 28, 1934 in North Branch, Michigan to George and Lila (Tharrett) LaValley. He grew up on the family dairy farm in North Branch and graduated from North Branch High School in 1952. He married his high school sweetheart, Joann Repic, in July 1955.
Dick retired from General Motors Truck and Coach in 1987 after 35 years of dedicated service. During that time, he worked in various positions ending his career as an Experimental Engineering supervisor.
During his work career he enjoyed work bowling leagues, skeet shooting and even SCUBA diving with friends in area lakes.
In 1971, Dick and Joann purchased the farm in North Branch where Joann grew up and the LaValley’s moved their six children along with their animals from Lapeer. Always keeping a nice flock of chickens and a small herd of Charolais beef cattle on what became known as the LaValley Charolais Farm, Dick also tried a variety of other animals including honeybees, peacocks and Scotch Highlander cattle over the years.
He and Joann were active square dancers for years, traveling around the state and country with the Lapeer Square Stompers. Dick enjoyed motorcycle riding and owned several motorcycles. He and Joann were active in their antique engine club and operated one of their old engines at the Heritage Harvest Festival at Seven Ponds Nature Center for years. They regularly played Euchre with many friends. Over the years, he and Joann traveled through Europe and Iceland as well as train trips to Newfoundland in the east and west to Seattle, south to San Diego and just about everywhere in between. He was active in local government and served as a Rich Township Trustee for several years. He donated more than 100 pints of blood to the Red Cross and he managed the Red Cross blood drive at the American Legion in North Branch for many years.
His home and cabin became a regular gathering place for family and friends. He enjoyed taking guests on golf cart rides on the trails in the back of the farm along the Flint River. He enjoyed antiques and he had a collection of old Farmall tractors. He even brought two antique British cars to Michigan from his times living in England. His hobbies included gardening, which provided most of the vegetables for the family and making all types of toys, clocks and crafts in his wood shop.
He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Joann LaValley, his brother Edward (Dee) LaValley of Richmond and will be sorely missed by his children David LaValley of Vassar, Jeffrey LaValley of North Branch, Daniel (Kellie) LaValley of Lapeer, Brian (Faith) LaValley of North Branch, James (Angie) LaValley of San Diego, Ca., and Jodi (Craig) Zinser of Clarkston. He was also loved by grandchildren Kyle LaValley, Scott LaValley, Andrea (Matt) Ferris, Adam LaValley, Alexandria (Andrew) Burch, Samantha LaValley, Hannah LaValley, Luke LaValley, Noah LaValley and Susanna LaValley, and great-grandchildren Jackson Ferris and Kennedy Ferris.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his brother Gerald LaValley. A private memorial service will be scheduled at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that you make a donation in Dick’s name to the Seven Ponds Nature Center in Dryden, Michigan.
You may share an online condolence at www.blackburn.com
Arrangements by Blackburn Chapel-Martin Funeral Home
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