September 15, 1953- November 19, 2013|
Valerie Lynne Stephens of Mount Pleasant, Michigan died of cancer with her family at her side on the morning of November 19, 2013. Valerie was born in Atlanta, Georgia and grew up in Miami, Florida. While working at a state mental hospital in Virginia, she was inspired to study psychology. She earned a B.S. with highest distinction from the University of Virginia in 1982, and her M.S. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Virginia Commonwealth University in 1985 and 1989. Valerie married Guy Newland of Richmond, Virginia in 1985. After Valerie's internship at the Indiana University Department of Psychiatry, she and Guy settled in Michigan where they raised their children Gabriel Newland and Rebecca Newland.
Valerie served central Michigan as a clinical psychologist in private practice for 25 years, working with adults, adolescents, and couples. After brief periods in Midland and Saginaw, she started her own practice in Alma. In 2004, she relocated this business to Mount Pleasant where it operated until the onset of her final illness in October 2012.
Valerie cared deeply for her clients and dedicated herself to helping them. She saw that child abuse and child neglect––including even well intentioned but misguided parenting––create a legacy of harm that is passed through generations. Vast needless misery could be avoided if adults would have children only when they are ready to attune themselves to their children's needs. Also, it was Valerie's conviction that it is healthy and natural to open our minds to all emotions, positive and negative, to feel fully both the pain and joy of life. The things we do to avoid or deny painful feelings cause much more harm than the feelings themselves.
In her personal life, Valerie was a good friend, devoted wife, wonderful and loving mother, avid reader, talented cook, world traveler, film buff, sports fanatic, and single malt connoisseur. She was a founding member of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Central Michigan.
Valerie is survived by Guy Newland, her husband of 28 years, and by son Gabriel Newland, daughter Rebecca Newland, mother Gladys Stephens, and sisters Deborah Lucas and Cathy Watson. She is survived by many beloved nieces, nephews, and in-laws. Preceding her in death was her dear younger brother, Kenneth Stephens, and her father, Herbert Stephens, of Silver Creek, Georgia.
In lieu of flowers, contributions in memory of Valerie Stephens may be made to Listening Ear's Child Sexual Abuse Treatment endowment fund, earmarked specifically for that purpose and mailed to the Mt. Pleasant Area Community Foundation, P.O. Box 1283, Mt. Pleasant, MI 48804-1283. A memorial service is planned for January 25, 2014 at 2 PM at Clark Family Funeral Chapel.
You may view Valerie's obituary online and send a condolence to the family, light a memorial candle, or place a memorial donation at www.clarkfuneralchapel.com.
Published in The Morning Sun on Nov. 20, 2013