Smith, Valentina K. "Vallie"
Feb. 2, 1924 - Dec. 5, 2012
Valentina Kovalenko Smith died at The Pines of Sarasota after a long and interesting life. Valentina was born in the Ukraine in 1924. Her parents had both died by the time she was a teenager and she lived with an older sister and her family. In the early days of World War II, Valentina was taken, along with many other Ukrainians, by the Nazis to work in factories in Germany. When she arrived in Berlin, because she was fluent in German, she was taken by an industrialist to serve as governess for his family where she was treated like a member of their family and was saved from the slave labor conditions in the factories. After World War II, Vallie met and married a young GI stationed in Berlin named William F. Smith. They returned to Alabama where Bill was from, but Bill's work took them to several different areas of the United States until Bill's death in 1983. Bill and Vallie had dreamed of settling in Sarasota and Vallie followed through with that dream in spite of Bill's death. She is survived by her nephew, Eric (Melissa) Smith of Helena, AL; Brother In Law Karl (Myra) Smith of Bessemer, AL; Nieces Lisa (Tom) Hammett of Montevallo, AL, Harriette (Michael) McLain of Tequesta, FL, Karla (Paul) Whitcomb of Bessemer, AL and Thea Smith of Birmingham, AL. Vallie was a sweet, caring lady who managed to be gracious, contented and happy in spite of many discouraging events in her life, including the early death of her husband and surviving breast cancer
. Although one of her legs was amputated to treat the bone cancer, she was a regular swimmer at the Sarasota YMCA, going there frequently to swim her mile. She also loved bingo and regularly attended church.
Services and burial will be held in Birmingham, Alabama.