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Helga Valigorsky

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Helga Valigorsky Obituary
Helga H. Valigorsky

1938-2013 PITTSFIELD Mrs. Helga H. Valigorsky of Pittsfield, MA, wife of Dr. Jon Valigorsky, died of complications from a heart attack in Baystate Medical Center on the evening of Monday, September 16, 2013. She was 75. Family and friends remember her as an excellent correspondent, an avid reader, an accomplished cook, a thoughtful friend, a lively hostess, a dedicated volunteer, an occasional puppeteer, a cherished wife, and the best mother a kid could have. Helga was born on July 11, 1938 in Hamburg, Germany to Hertha Braasch. During her early childhood, she witnessed many horrors of World War II. Her father, Hertha's husband, died in the war. Fortunately she experienced growing up in a stable family postwar thanks to the arrival of a man named Franz Schramm. Franz originally met Helga's mother under the pretense of a room to let that she was offering. Hertha and Franz quickly became life partners. Helga went to high school in Hamburg, and after completing an apprenticeship in chemistry decided to fulfill the wanderlust she had developed as a teenager who corresponded with 14 global pen pals. In 1962, she took a one-year contract job as an au pair for a family in Silver Springs, Maryland. She didn't like the work, but she liked America. By the end of her first year here she had met a nice medical student named Jon Valigorsky, and thought she would try getting a job in chemistry. To her surprise, it only took three weeks for her to get an offer to work at Colgate in New Jersey, as the only female chemist in a division that made, among other products, soaps and shampoo. Although she would hold a few different chemistry jobs throughout the 1960s, she always said the job at Colgate was the most fun. In 1967, after four years of dating, Helga and Jon were married at a small ceremony in Shippensburg, PA. With motherhood in 1970 came retirement from work as a coagulation specialist (which inspired Jon's work in hematology) and a new full-time job as homemaker. In 1976 Jon, Helga, and their daughter Astrida came to live in Pittsfield. Over the years Helga became an avid participant in the local German club. She also volunteered at the Berkshire Medical Center, The Berkshire Museum, and would prepare her famous spaeztle often for potlucks at the Zion Lutheran Church. Those who know of Dr. Valigorsky's expansive rhododendron collection should know that without Helga's initial request for a purple rhododendron in the backyard, the collection would have never gotten started. She is survived by her husband Dr. Jon Valigorsky, an only daughter Mrs. Astrida Valigorsky and her husband Richard H. Levey of New York, NY, as well as her sister Karin Kröger & nephew Alexander Kröger of Hamburg, Germany. FUNERAL NOTICE: A celebration of Helga's life will be held on the 28th of September at 4pm at the Zion Lutheran Church on 74 First Street in Pittsfield. After the service there will be light refreshments. Burial will be private. Pink and white floral arrangements would be welcome and should be sent to the Wellington Funeral Service on 220 East Street in Pittsfield, MA, 413-445-4064. No donations please. - Photographer for image is Jeff Wotjaszek
Published in The Berkshire Eagle on Sept. 22, 2013
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