Mildred S. Valach

Mildred S. Valach, 95, passed away peacefully at Prairie Community Hospital in Terry, Montana, on November 22, 2016. 

Millie was born June 11, 1921 on the family farm near Tabor, South Dakota, the second child of Joseph and Marie (Vavruska) Sutera. She lived and worked on the farm with her parents and siblings. She attended a rural school at the age of five knowing no English as Czech was the native language. All students in the school were Czech and older students served as translators for the new students and teacher. She graduated from Tyndall High School with the honors of Homecoming Queen and Valedictorian.

In 1942 she graduated Magna Cum Laude from Yankton College in Yankton, SD with a Bachelor of Arts degree in mathematics and education. She completed her education in 1974 graduating with honors from the University of Minnesota earning a Master of Arts degree in Library Science.

Millie had a long career starting with teaching high school math for two years in Vermillion, SD. She then moved to Los Angeles and worked for five years at the California Fruit Growers Exchange. 

On June 10, 1945, she married John Mike Valach. During World War II John was in the U.S. Navy assigned to the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Lexington, CV16. After the war ended, John joined Mildred in LA. They returned to South Dakota briefly before the birth of daughter Arlis in 1950 and then moved to Miles City. Son Dale was born in 1954. Mildred resumed teaching in 1957 in Miles City at Custer County High School (CCHS) where she taught three years of mathematics before becoming the Librarian for 23 years, retiring in 1983.

As best friends, Mildred and John did everything together including: square dancing, fishing, photography, house projects, and HAM radio with her call sign of K7WUK. Family and friends were very important and the Valach family made many trips to South Dakota and California to visit. Their love for traveling included trips to Czech Republic, New Zealand, Australia, Hawaii, Hostfest in Minot, Lexington Aircraft reunions, and a Panama Canal cruise to name a few. Millie was the travel planner and kept John guessing where they would go next. She dutifully kept detailed travel logs and shared wonderful write-ups of their adventures with the family. After John’s death, she continued traveling to visit friends and family.

Mildred was a perfectionist and did much handiwork. Cross-stitch, knitting, plastic craft, and needlework were evening projects that brought her joy. She also enjoyed doing picture puzzles, Sudoku, and the daily newspaper crossword puzzle. Her favorite color was pink and flower was the rose.

Thankfully she also collected family history for future generations as well as glass baskets and angels. She had an infectious smile, was a lifelong Presbyterian, hard worker, care giver, Seattle Mariner fan, loving mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and friend to many. 

Preceding Mildred in death were her husband John; mother and father, Joe and Marie Sutera; and siblings Arlene and Allen Sutera. 

She is survived by sister Gladys (Al) Souhrada  of Yankton, SD; daughter Arlis  (Don) Bidwell of Miles City, MT; grand-daughter Lisa (Brian) Bowers all of Thornton, CO; grand-daughter Abby (Dustin) Stevens; great grand-daughter Raeleigh Stevens; great grand-son Johnny Stevens all of Elizabeth, CO; son Dale (Suzanne) Valach; grand-son Ryan Valach; grand-daughter Kelsey Valach all of Issaquah, WA; and numerous nieces and nephews.

The family would like to express their gratitude to the Prairie Community Hospital staff for their support and care during her stay there. Thanks also to all those who knew Millie and were part of her full life.

Visitation will be held on Monday, November 28, 2016 at Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home in Miles City with family receiving friends from 4:00-6:00 p.m. Funeral services will be held on Tuesday, November 29, 2016 at 11:00 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church in Miles City.  Interment will follow in the Eastern Montana State Veterans Cemetery in Miles City.  Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home of Miles City is in charge of the arrangements. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting:

Should friends desire, memorials may be made to the First Presbyterian Church, Prairie Community Hospital Activities or to the charity of one’s choice.