Valkyrie S. (Val) Lavender, who lived in Ojai as a teenager and again as an adult from the early 1970s through the 1990s, died peacefully in Montrose, Colorado, on May 12 at the age of 87.

The mother of five, an avid gardener, and a dedicated librarian, Val met her husband David in Ojai when she attended Nordoff High School and he attended Thacher School.

Val attended Ventura College and married David in 1957. They returned to Ojai in 1973, when he began working at Thacher.

Val was active as a volunteer for the Ojai Valley Museum, the Ojai Garden Club, and the Arts Center, and she was the librarian at San Antonio School. From the mid-1970s to 1988, she and her friends ran a children’s book and clothing store in The Arcade called The Wind in the Willows. Val brought her love and knowledge of children’s books to the business to make it a success.

Val was born December 14, 1934, in Honolulu, Hawaii, the youngest of three daughters. The family lived on Oahu because her father served in the Navy and established a car dealership there. Val lived through the bombing of Pearl Harbor one week before her 7th birthday. Thanks to her Hawaiian upbringing, she loved floral arranging and gardening.

After 55 years of marriage, Val said goodbye to the love of her life when David died in 2013. Val moved into assisted living, and family members who live in the southwest Colorado region visited Val weekly. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, but her cheerfulness and humor stayed intact during her decline.

Val is survived by five children: Laurence “Lars” Lavender and his wife Ginger, Shannon Lavender, David W. Lavender and his wife Karen, Martha Lavender and her husband Brian, and Sarah Lavender Smith and her husband Morgan. She also had eight grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

The family will celebrate Val’s life and inter her ashes this summer at Lone Tree Cemetery in Telluride, Colorado, next to her husband’s final resting place.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that gifts be made in her memory to support the Telluride Historical Museum (P.O. Box 1597, Telluride, CO 81435), or Hope West

Hospice in Montrose at


Obit Lavender photo