Valerie Violet Leslie Moorehead
July 07, 1910 - June 06, 2017
Valerie Violet Leslie· Moorhead departed this mortal existence on June 6, 2017, one month short of her 1 07th birthday. She· passed peacefully at her home in Mafolie surrounded by relatives, friends and caregivers.
Valerie was born on St Thomas on July 7, 1910 to Edna Coleman and Camile Leslie. Her brother, Camilito, and her sister, Gladys, are both deceased. As a young girl, she was raised by aunts and attended Sts.. Peter and Paul Catholic School. As a young woman, she trained and became· a sales clerk at the La Gracia Dry Goods store on Main Street. In her early twenties, she moved to New York, attending the New York University's School of Continuing Education and supported herself by working as a domestic in Manhattan.
In 1940 she married John S. Moorhead in New York City who was then completing his surgical residency at Harlem Hospital. Shortly thereafter, the· couple returned to St. Thomas and took up residence in a home on Hospital Ground not far from the original St Thomas Hospital. Her husband was the territory's first local Commissioner of Health.
Valerie, like· so many of her associates on St. Thomas in the early 1940s, worked to help support the war effort by providing assistance to the· U.S. Navy at the submarine base, now in Crown Bay. After the war, she opened her own retail store at the foot of what is now Seventh Day Adventist Street selling fabrics and threads, hats and ribbons, and school supplies. For years after closing that enterprise many continued to complement and turn to her for her millinery skills.
Valerie and John had three sons John, Shelley and Justin. She had two stepdaughters, Janet and Jean.
In 1955 Valerie and her three sons travelled to West Africa to join her husband who had become a part of the U.S. Foreign Service and was stationed in Monrovia, Liberia. In 1957 the family moved to Tehran, Iran. There she volunteered as a teacher of English as a second language at
the· American Embassy to native Iranians while also working with a local orphanage.
In the mid 1960s, she· again joined her husband during his tenure with the U.S. Public Health Service, managing the delivery of health care to Native American communities. While living in Phoenix, Arizona, she developed an interest in Native American art objects and pottery and visited American Indian reservations throughout the state.
Valerie was a contributor to many charitable causes and provided support to the Catholic com1munities wherever she· lived. After retirement and returning to St Thomas, she continued to support Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church, Bethlehem House and the Missionaries of Charity (the Mother Teresa Nuns). She was also a charter member of the Catholic Daughters of America Court 2049 here on St Thomas, now in its 45th year of serving the community.
Mother, Grand Mommy, Grandma, Nen and Aunt Val are terms of endearment still used by many family members in the Virgin Islands and abroad.
She is survived by her children and daughters-in-law lngela Moorhead, Helen Moo1rhead and Gretta Moorhe·ad; grandchildren Charles Moorhead, Robynn Moorhead, Kristen Moorhead, Sesyle Moorhead, Julia Baumberger, John Dotson, Marilyn Wooton, Joelle Dehasse, Carol Dehasse and Noah Feruzi. The great· grandchildren are Ethan Smith, Olivia Smith, Che Moorhead, Addison Smyth, Ella Baumberger, John Baumberger, Alexander Wooten, Zachary Wooten, Paul Wooten, Leo Dehasse and Pauline Hearne. Carmen Sibilly, her goddaughter, filled the role of the daughter she never had.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held on Friday, June 16, 2017 at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Mafolie. Viewing will be at 8:30 a.m. followed by the· Funeral Mass at 9:15, a.m. Interment will be at Western Cemetery #1 1 immediately following the church services.
Arrangements are under the care of Hurley Funeral Home and Cremation Center of St. Thomas, St. John, St. Croix, and Tortola. For directions and online condolences, please visit www.hurleydavisfuneralhome.com
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any donations be made to Catholic Charities of St. Thomas (340) 777-8518
Service: Map to Our Lady of Perpetual Help
Cemetery: Map to Western Cemetery