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In loving memory of
Valerie Lee Cleaver
  • Passed away on March 10, 2023

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Valerie Lee Molder Cleaver died peacefully on March 10, 2023 at home with her husband of 40 years, Tom, by her side.  Valerie was born in Baltimore, Maryland on January 13, 1945, the only daughter of Edmund Lee and Frances Irene Dietor Molder.  She graduated from Notre Dame Preparatory School and attended the University of Maryland.  Valerie lived in Maryland and Delaware until 2001, where she had a successful career working for Eutaw Savings Bank, First National Bank of Maryland, and as a Vice President for Equitable Bank.  After retiring from corporate life, Valerie was able to realize a lifelong dream of working with animals at a veterinary hospital.  Later, she felt called to work with people preparing for end of life and their families at Hospice of Queen Anne’s.  Her leisure time was usually spent with Tom, other family members, and friends.  Valerie enjoyed being near the water (fishing, boating, crabbing, beach time), attending and volunteering at church, and her dogs.    Valerie was also a fabulous cook, which she learned from her mother, Fran, and loved entertaining family and friends – the more the merrier she would say.

Valerie and Tom moved to Southwest Florida in 2001 where family, friends, water, church, and her dogs remained Valerie’s biggest sources of enjoyment.  She began coping with dementia in 2016, and moved with Tom to Shell Point Retirement Community in 2017.  Valerie continued to lead an active life.  She began taking art lessons, painting with watercolor, and raising butterflies.  She served as a hospice patient volunteer, participated in church activities, attended musical performances, and spent time with friends.

Val was an amazing daughter, mother, wife, and friend.  She had a special way about her that those who crossed paths with Val experienced.  Her ability to relate to others endeared her to so many.  She has been described as easy to love, always happy, vibrant, funny, and having a passion for life.  It was always so clear how much Val cared about everyone in her life.  This was her special gift to everyone she loved.

Valerie is survived by her husband, Thomas W. Cleaver; and three children, Whitney Wilson (Andy), Clay Coard (Leah), and Amy Holden (Gary).  She loved being a grandmother to Brady Wilson, Spencer Wilson, Ali Wilson, Laurel Coard, Blake Coard, Lila Coard, and Chad Holden.

Valerie’s family is deeply grateful for the kindness and help of friends, Hope Hospice, and Shell Point Home Care in recent months.

Friends are invited to gather at Valerie’s memorial service at 1 p.m. on Saturday, April 22 at Peace Lutheran Church, 15840 McGregor Blvd., Fort Myers, FL 33908.

Arrangements under the care and direction of Baldwin Brothers Funeral and Cremation Society; baldwincremation.com.

Those who wish to honor Valerie can consider a donation to Shell Point’s Butterfly Habitat, or simply think of Val the next time you see a butterfly.  (Checks can be payable to The Legacy At Shell Point, mailed to 15010 Shell Point Blvd., Fort Myers, FL 33908, and have a notation that they are for the Butterfly Habitat in memory of Valerie Cleaver).


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  1. Sharon Kubik posted an image:
    26 Mar 2023
    Valerie Cleaver and Sharon Kubik raising funds for From our Hearts at the Holiday Hope House in 2012.
    Valerie Cleaver and Sharon Kubik raising funds for From our Hearts at the Holiday Hope House in 2012.

  2. Sharon Kubik says:
    26 Mar 2023
    I am saddened by Valerie's passing. I also feel the passing of a friendship and a important part of my life. I met Valerie when we both volunteer for the From Our Hearts organization on Pine Island FL. We raised money to provide Breast Cancer procedures for the people in Pine Island who were under insured. What started out as a desire to help the community turned into a treasured friendship. We quickly discovered what great working pardners we were. I kept her from being quite so serious and her idealistic approach to the tasks made me a better person. Our organization accomplished a great deal and having Valerie to work with made it fun. One of the fund raisers Valerie and I Chaired was a Fashion Show. There was a painting donated by one of our favorite Pine Island artists, Mel Meo that raised a lot of money for FOH. And it matched Valerie's home decorating so she commissioned a second one from Mel. When Valerie and Tom left the Island I was honored to be gifted the painting. It was a symbol not only if Mels talent but the accomplishments with FOH and my and Valerie's friendship. After Ian when I contacted Tom and Valerie to let them know that like so many others I lost a great deal of material items but was blessed with my health and safety. Valerie was very concerned about some particular item but could not communicate to Tom what it was. But I knew and sent her a picture to assure her that the Mel Meo painting and I survived the storm. Just like my memories will survive her passing. I'm very thankful to the Lord for putting Valerie in my life and the time we had together.

    Sent from AOL on Android

  3. Susan Brandon says:
    23 Mar 2023
    I worked with Valerie at Hospice of Queen Anne's for 3 or 4 years. She was excellent as the Volunteer Coordinator - good at organization and really good with people! She was a great team member, working hard to coordinate many volunteers who served our patients and their family members. It was a big job, but she did it very well. She also originated programs where school kids could help our hospice by creating fundraising projects. She was an excellent communicator and wrote many articles for our newsletters. Valerie was invested in other staff members and I recall some lovely social events at Tom and Valerie's home on Love Point. As many have said here, she was an amazing cook, and I still make her squash soup and cheddar pate! I haven't seen Valerie for many years, but I have such fond memories of being her friend and coworker. I wish I could attend her memorial service so I could give Tom, Whitney, and Clay some hugs. She'll be sorely missed.

  4. tom & marcia goggin donahue says:
    21 Mar 2023
    We are so sorry to hear of Vals passing. We adored her. She made us happy and laugh whenever we were talking with her or in her company. Our jokes over my "cheap pink wine" will forever be a wonderful fun memory. we will always think of her with smiles on our faces.

  5. Diane E Stoelker says:
    18 Mar 2023
    Dear Tom & Family,
    Valerie was such a beautiful person! Having you guys as our neighbors in Matlacha was the best! Valerie certainly knew how to throw the most elegant dinner parties. She was an exceptional cook and hostess. Some of my favorite times would be hanging out back eating crabs, drinking some wine and ending the night with homemade ice cream. Val loved her ice cream! Perhaps Val & Bill will have a bowl of ice cream in Heaven.

    Love you and miss you my friend.

  6. Heather Guerieri says:
    17 Mar 2023
    Heaven gained another beautiful angel! Val was one of a kind and I was honored to work with her at Hospice of Queen Anne's as a new nurse. She affectionately called me "the brat." I always loved it because I knew it came from a place of love and mothering! She had an infectious smile that radiated. She was kindhearted and loved her family so much! I had not seen Val for years once they moved to Florida, but I always did and will have a special place in my heart for her! Val till we meet again in God's kingdom. Love, Heather Guerieri, CEO Compass Regional Hospice

  7. Melissa Koferl says:
    16 Mar 2023
    I remember Val passing Mrs Claus over and entrusted with me the Christmas gift that I will never forget. The Lord keep Val and be with Tom at this time. Tom is one of your precious gifts, Lord.

  8. Debra Behrens says:
    16 Mar 2023
    We are sending our love and deepest sympathy to Tom and the entire family as we mourn the loss of our dear Val. Anyone who knew Val was truly blessed to have been touched by her readiness to share her love, kindness, joy for living, laughter and her fabulous cooking! Her friendship was among the greatest gifts in our lives bringing us both big and small cherished memories. Saying goodbye to Val was always the hardest because we always wanted more time together. So we will hold Val close in our hearts until we meet again. Love up to the moon & back! Debra & Jack.

  9. Barbara and Bill says:
    16 Mar 2023
    How fortunate we were to have Val in our lives! She was small, sassy and sweet, clever and she loved Tom and family. We never quite lost her because non-verbals prevailed. We understood. It is our loss but a profound one for Tom.
    Hopefully. grateful, wonderful memories will soon prevail. God bless him and the family!

  10. Linda Levin says:
    16 Mar 2023
    Tom, Whit, Andy, Clay, Amy, Gary, Leah and all,

    I am so saddened for your loss. Valerie was such a positive force for life, love, beauty and fun. Without doubt, thinking of her always put a smile on my face as it always will. I hope that happy memories will carry you as well through the next few months.
    Sending love to all.

  11. Barbara and Bill says:
    16 Mar 2023
    How fortunate we were to have Val in our lives. Small, sassy and sweet - a clever, gifted friend who remained animated so we could - in the end- use non- verbals to convey feelings.
    How fortunate she was to have Tom meeting her needs, to have faithful friends. We do not know her children but grieve with all her family and friends for our loss and rejoice in her peace.

  12. Rob & Renee says:
    15 Mar 2023
    Tom, Amy, Gary, Whit, Andy, Clay, Leah and all,

    Renee & I don’t have to tell you how special Valerie will always be to us! She has touched so many lives and her zest for life and love for others will go on for generations through you all and many many more! Cherish those Val memories as you mourn and celebrate a life well led, while this phase ending selfishly too soon! Love to all! Rob & Renee

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