Sunrise: Aug. 8, 1951 ~ Sunset: Dec. 1, 2023
Valerie Bivona Cordiano, 72, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and counselor, passed away peacefully on Dec. 1, 2023. She was surrounded by her husband and four children. She is reunited with God after a 15-year courageous battle with cancer, leaving behind countless people touched by her kindness, generosity, intelligence, and empathy. She is survived by her husband of 50 years, Dean; her four children, Alexis, Douglas, Benjamin, and Emma; her grandchildren: Gabriel, Jason, Michael, Nicholas, Jack, Owen, Nico, and Luca; her daughters-in-law Kristen and Andrea Cordiano; her son-in-law, Dennis Durao; her dog, Archie; her sister, Rosemarie Harrison; and her brother, John Bivona; as well as her nieces, Kathleen Budd, Beth Bivona, Jill Bivona, and Donna Harrison; and her nephew David Harrison. She was predeceased by her parents, Nina and John C. Bivona; her brother-in-law, Hugh Harrison; Dean’s parents, Domenick and Mary Cordiano; and her sister-in-law, Sarah Budd.
Valerie lived in West Hartford for 30 years and Madison, for the last 17 years. Her children continue her tradition of service, as they include a physician, two lawyers, and a mental health counselor. Valerie was proud to have grown up in Brooklyn, New York. She graduated with honors from SUNY-Binghamton, held master’s degrees from the University of Hartford and St. Joseph’s College, and was a Marriage and Family Therapist for more than 25 years. In addition to helping private patients with their mental health issues, Valerie was a grief counselor and was the founder and director for 22 years of the West Hartford site of The Cove, a grief program for children and their families who have experienced the death of a loved one. Valerie also received the St. Joseph Archdiocesan Medal of Appreciation for her volunteer work with the bereavement group of St. Timothy Parish.
She was an extraordinarily gifted counselor, and her work continues by her youngest daughter, Emma, who was thedirector of counseling at East Granby High School and is now in private practice in West Hartford. After her retirement from The Cove and her private practice, Valerie became an accomplished potter and exhibited her work at the Guilford Arts Fair. But at the risk of using a cliche, there was no greater joy in Valerie’s life than spending time with her children and grandchildren. Ski and beach vacations were supervised by “Nonna” (or “Grammy” as she was known to Gabriel and Jason), and the memories of time spent in Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Colorado, and Vermont ski resorts, and the beaches of Madison, will resonate through the lives of her family.
Valerie and Dean were high school sweethearts in Brooklyn. In more than 50 years of glorious marriage, she was the touchstone that gave meaning and dignity to Dean’s life. Valerie taught high school in Raleigh, North Carolina, while Dean attended Duke Law School. She supported Dean’s rise in the Connecticut legal community and did not pursue her counseling career until the last of her children was in sixth grade, exemplifying once again her dedication to family.
Although her passing is devastating, her family will choose to celebrate the beloved memories and lessons of Valerie’s life: kindness, patience, love, sensitivity to the faults of others, and the willingness to put others’ needs before her own. She always found the time to attend her children’s (and now grandchildren’s) sports and school events and taught them that the outcome of the event was secondary to whether they gave their all and tried their hardest. The stresses of the day melted away when she greeted you with her warm smile and comforting hugs. And that included her physical interactions with her beloved dogs through the years. They will all be reunited with her on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge.
Valerie’s passing illustrates the truism that God calls the best people to his side early and so lets them enjoy eternal peace sooner rather than later. All of her family will look forward to being united with Nonna when God wills it. Her loving example will help her family and friends understand and accept her untimely passing and its place in God’s plan.
Visiting hours at Molloy Funeral Home, 906 Farmington Ave., West Hartford, were on Dec. 5. A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated on Dec. 6 at the Church of St. Peter Claver, 47 Pleasant St., West Hartford. A private burial took place on Dec. 7. Donations in her memory may be made to The Cove Center for Grieving Children (www.covect.org) or the American Cancer Society (donate.cancer.org) Online expressions of sympathy may be made at www.molloyfuneralhome.com.