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Kessner, Valerie A.

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September 6, 1952 - February 13, 2014

Kessner, Valerie A.

Valerie Ann Kessner of Dallas passed away on February 13, 2014. Valerie was dearly loved and will be missed by family and friends.

She was born on September 6, 1952 to Anna Louise (nee Malsan) and Roger Franklin Kessner in New York City, NY. She was kind, adventurous and exceptionally bright. She graduated from Bellaire High School in Houston, Texas (1970) and received her Bachelors degree from the University of Houston. Thereafter she received her law degree from The University of Texas Law School and practiced law in Boston. Valerie was passionate about The U.S. Constitution and social justice.

Early in her life, Valerie recognized that a person’s self-respect and dignity come in large measure from their work. Over two decades ago there was no publically supported job training and job placement system where unskilled and unemployed people could get help to enter the workforce. So Valerie quit her job practicing law and got a Master’s Degree in Public Affairs from the Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs where she focused on employment policy and innovative job training initiatives. After graduating, Valerie took a job in the U.S. Senate and then as a consultant to the Department of Labor where she helped to create and implement the Workforce Investment Act. Under this law a job training assistance and job placement program was established in every state in the country giving millions of people opportunities and hope that they otherwise would not have. In Dallas, Workforce Solutions on North Stemmons Freeway carries out the program required under the Workforce Investment Act. Valerie found great satisfaction in knowing that she helped change millions of lives for the better through the Workforce Investment Act.

Valerie was a regular attendee at the Park Cities/Central Dallas Democratic Club where she was known for her insightful questions for speakers on various topics. She was generous with her volunteer hours and worked tirelessly in support of the Democratic Party volunteering not only during campaigns but throughout the year. She felt called to a high level of civic engagement and participated wherever she felt she could make a difference. She put thousands of hours into phone banking with Organizing for America, supporting the Presidential election campaign and the Affordable Care Act to name a few. In the final days before a vote she would work the 12-hour days necessary to get the word out. Her volunteerism extended to state level politics as well, including traveling to Austin to march for women’s rights and encouraging people to communicate with their representatives. She was also apparently known to bring the most incredible desserts to the social functions.

Traveling was essential to Valerie’s adventurous and curious nature. Once, she went to the former Soviet Union for a tour of their legal system. Additionally, she traveled throughout Europe as well as in the U.S. whenever she got the chance.

Music was another of Valerie’s passions. She enjoyed discussing and debating the merits and history of various artists with her nephew, Nathan. She enjoyed concerts small or large and often went with friends to a live music venue for her birthday celebrations.

Valerie enjoyed attending the College of Complexes as well as The Liberal Ladies who Lunch. She also loved animals and supported the S.P.C.A. Her beloved Chiweenie dog “Mercy” has been adopted by a caring neighbor. Her beloved German Shepherd “Lady” predeceased her.

Most importantly Valerie was a loving, courageous, honorable and compassionate individual. She was a generous and gentle spirit who desired and worked to make the world a better place for everyone. Her efforts made a difference in the world and she will be missed.

Valerie was preceded in death by her parents, Anna and Roger Kessner and her brother, Roger James Kessner. She is survived by her sister Gilda Louise Kessner of Dallas, nephew Nathan Michael Terry (Dallas), niece Courtney Elizabeth Terry Loughry and husband Daniel Loughry (Arlington, VA). She was especially proud to be the Great Aunt of niece Emory Louise and nephew Grant William Loughry. Additionally, she is survived by aunts, uncles, cousins and many friends.

The memorial service will be held Sunday, February 23 at 3:00 p.m. in the Preston Place Building, Room 185, at Prestoncrest Church of Christ, 12700 Preston Road, Dallas, TX 75230. In lieu of flowers please make donations in Valerie’s honor to the SPCA of North Texas, 214-461-1815.

If you would like to mail a donation please send to:

SPCA of Texas
ATTN: Development
2400 Lone Star Drive
Dallas, Texas 75212 

ARIA Cremation Service & Funeral Home
10116 E. NW Highway
Dallas, Texas 75238
214.340.8008

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Caroline Cormier

September 05, 2016 12:22PM

Valerie was my cousin by marriage, but we lost touch after my family moved to California. She was the sweetest, kindest person ever. I remember when I was 7 and I had the measles or mumps and was laying on the couch at Aunt Virginia and Uncle Roger's house in Houston. Valerie came over and sat in the floor and watched TV with me. I will always remember her sweetness, and am sad that I am just now finding out about this. Love to Gilda and the rest of the family.


Susie Hess

February 26, 2014 10:01PM

Valerie, be free now from the cares and troubles that you gave your life to overcome. Rest now knowing that you did all you could do. I will miss seeing you at CoC and around the activist camps. To your family, I say please know that Valerie was greatly admired and loved.


Glenda McDonald

February 25, 2014 8:54PM

Valerie and have been friends since college. Our friendship waxed and waned over the years, but we never lost touch. She was an exceptional person - intelligent, caring, and spiritual. She felt deeply and was passionate in her beliefs. She always wanted to make a difference in this world, to contribute something - and I think she did. There is so much I wish I could say to her - my heart is so heavy. Dear Valerie I would give the sun and moon once more just to hear you speak.
Love, Glenda


Lynda Mistich~Pehoski

February 23, 2014 5:02PM

We started being friends at Bellaire High School and continued through the years. She was a dreamer, a seeker, of all that was true; graduated from Law and LBJ Government School, always striving to make a difference in people's lives, in the world...believed in World Peace, loved to travel, her favorite musician was Shake Russell, and sche was always moved by beautiful things that were handcrafted and unique...she had a heart that yearned for love and magic and all that was possible through spirit and light...she will be truly missed, and wished Heavenly Peace
Valerie, I love you,
Your friend, Lynda Mistich~ Pehoski


Anna Wawrzyniak

February 23, 2014 12:02PM

I was deeply saddened by the news Valerie passing. Remembering her gentle soul will remain in my heart. May she rest in peace.


Diane Elliott

February 22, 2014 9:00PM

Valerie spent her last year at Skillman Bend. I was looking forward to getting to know her better. I miss her and her congenial personality…always stopping to say hi as she walked Mercy. The written tribute makes me so sad as I would've loved to talk with her about her many accomplishments. Deepest sympathy to family, friends and neighbors.


Emma Nelson

February 22, 2014 8:39AM

My heart breaks knowing that I will not see Valerie again, and we didn't say goodbye. I will forever have her smile with me. Her concern for humanity has been inspiring. I know that she treasured our friendship. I am haunted by the fact I was too busy with my little world during her last weeks on earth. Valerie, I will
treasure you forever.


Liz Wally

February 20, 2014 11:11AM

Valerie will be missed by so many of us! We thank her for all she has done to help make our world a better place! And for her family: your special Valerie was deeply appreciated by the activist community here in Dallas and we, too, will truly miss her.


Jan Howell

February 19, 2014 2:00PM

Saddened to hear of Valerie's passing. She did truly "fight the good fight" for so many people's benefit.


Gary Stuard

February 19, 2014 11:58AM

I was saddened on hearing of Valerie's passing. She was a deeply caring woman who did her best to make a difference in this world, to make it a more just and peaceful one. Thank you, Valerie! My condolences to your family and loved ones.


Anne Shuttee

February 19, 2014 8:31AM

I was so sorry to hear of Valerie's death. My deepest condolences to her family and loved ones.


Howard & Phyllis Schulman

February 18, 2014 5:51PM

Gilda, Howard and I are so sorry to hear about Valerie's death. I'm so sorry I won't be at the funeral. Know that we're thinking of you and the family. We pray for the peace that surpasses all understanding.