Memorial Service Video

January 7, 2008 from Skip | The Whole Story | 4 Comments

Below is most of Don’s memorial service on video. It does not include piano prelude and postlude and the congregational singing at this time, however, we may add those in the next few weeks. We are also looking into how we can include the slide show as shown at the service.

Many thanks to Paul Gordon for doing the video, and to James for editing and converting it to a streaming format for everyone to enjoy.

Here is an email from Heather earlier this week, sent shortly before she and the boys came back from a week in Hawaii with the Dupar family. Note especially the picture – astonishing?


What an amazing vacation we have had. This was the most healing place to be; so close to what I imagine Paradise to be. I walk the shore with the crashing waves each morning (granted there is a favorite latte stand as my goal) and talk to God and Don at the same time. Most of the time with thoughts of astonishing gratitude, and sometimes with the thought, “Are you kidding me? What the heck just happened? Hawaii is a good place to process grief. Don loved this place.

The picture I am sending you is thoroughly astonishing (Don’s favorite word in the last year of his life). Valencia’s Hawaii The picture is from January 1st, 2008. We just had had a sunset ceremony for Don with the Dupar family on the waters edge. After each reading aloud a stanza of the poem Linda Tarman wrote for Don titled Dancing on the Edge ( included earlier on Don’s blog), we dispersed a portion of Don’s ashes into the wind and waves from the black lava outcropping where we sat. Then Skip Dupar took this picture.  I am still holding the small silver box that contains Don’s ashes. In the picture you see a white circle above Johnny’s head. Coincidence? Maybe. Johnny says it’s a speck of dust. Maybe a speck of Don’s dust…he wanted to be in the picture with us.




Some more news on the family: Bo had a snowboarding accident yesterday, and got his knee wiped out. The orthopedist described it as someone taking a baseball bat and pounding on Bo’s knee. He was in ER for 6 hours yesterday, and came out with a leg brace he will be wearing for 4-6 weeks. He slept through the night last night, and Heather awakened him only to give him some more painkiller. Heather says she misses Don “like crazy” and kept wanting to call him yesterday to tell him about Bo’s accident.

We hope to have the video of Don’s memorial service posted soon. James has been working hard on getting it formatted properly from raw video.

Skip, for Heather, Johnny & Bo

Darrell Johnson has sent us his homily delivered at last Thursday’s memorial service for Don. Click on the following link to read the full text.

Homily in honor of Don Valencia

Fare thee well brother Don

December 15, 2007 from Skip | The Whole Story | 7 Comments

Some 800-900 friends and family laughed, cried, and reminisced together at the memorial service on Thursday, Dec. 13, 2007 at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle. Don’s life was celebrated in music, pictures, anecdotes, and a memorable homily from Darrell Johnson.

It was Darrell’s sermon on December 20, 1992 that God used to grab Don’s heart and begin the remaking of the man. So it was fitting that Darrell led us in remembering Don, and in reminding us, Don is gone. But Don is not dead.

We will have a text copy of Darrell’s homily posted on this blog in the next few days. We are also working on getting either the video of the entire service, or segments of the service, on the blog. Stay with us.

Heather and I have discussed where we go with this blog. Our thought right now is to keep it going for a little while longer, and then bring it to a close some time. We are exploring the best way to print the entire blog when we do shut it down, and to present it to Heather, Johnny & Bo. Don had always wanted to write a book that put into printed words all that a father would want to say to his sons. Through this blog, he did exactly that.

The blog also made possible the addition of an entirely different and wonderfully rich dimension which I don’t think Don fully anticipated the posted responses from all of you, coming from all parts of the country, and even from abroad. Most of you posted messages of encouragement and affection to Don. As Don slipped away, some of you began to write to Heather and the boys as well.

We now invite all of you to post messages, poetry, songs, quotations to Heather, Johnny and Bo before we bring the blog to a close. Your posts will be the epilogue of Don’s book.

To those of you who might need assistance with posting on the blog, James Snook, Don’s long time friend who designed and created the blog site stands ready to help you. Either send an email to James at or and we’ll get your messages posted.

Skip, for Heather, Johnny, Bo

It’s different now

December 11, 2007 from Skip | The Whole Story | 9 Comments

Heather wanted to share this song she just received, written for her by Sarah Parker, age 10. Sarah is daughter of Tami and Tom Parker. Tami was Heather’s very close friend during undergraduate days at the University of Washington.

It’s Different Now

At times I feel left out like no one is here to help
But now I know that you’re there in the gateway of heaven.
It’s different now that you’re gone but you’re still in my heart
I barely got to see you but now you’re gone
You were a gift of life, one of God’s children
It’s different now that you’re gone but you’re still in my heart
You’re done from your suffering and in Jesus’ arms
And it’s different now that you’re gone
Know that I’ll be thinking of you for the rest of my life
It’s so amazing how life is without you
It’s different now that you’re gone but in the pathway of heaven
You’re in God’s arms away from all your suffering in the best place ever
I can hear your voice, see you now but it’s all in my heart
Do you hear Heather calling she’s the love of your life
It’s different now that you’re gone away from all your suffering
It’s different now that you’re gone away from all your suffering

Sarah’s song
In memory of Don, dedicated to Heather

The date and time for Don’s memorial service has been confirmed:

Date: Thursday, December 13th, 2007
Time: 2:00PM PST
Place: University Presbyterian Church (Click for Map Need an affordable deal for the purchase of your Styplon? Buy it at our online store for $49.75 only! )
4540 15th Ave. NE
Seattle, Washington 98105
Reception will follow service in Larson Hall at UPC.

Parking: UPC has open lots on north side and west side. Covered parking lot on west side is not available as it is for monthly parkers only. Some street parking should be available; UW lots also open. Most students will be gone because it is end of finals week.

Please also contact Kristi Brumbaugh if you’d like to help out with meals for the Valencia family. E-mail:

We are hoping that Don’s memorial service can be held this Friday, December 14, 2pm at University Presbyterian Church in Seattle. That is TENTATIVE, pending UPC giving us confirmation of availability of the sanctuary. If that date is confirmed, there will be a reception after the service, also at the church.

Those of you who have experienced the loss of a loved one know that in the midst of coming to grips with the reality of Don’s parting, Heather is dealing with a great many details that need to be attended to. God continues to give Heather grace and strength. She said tonight she feels really uplifted by all your prayers.

Skip, for Heather, Johnny, Bo

Dancing in heaven

December 8, 2007 from Skip | The Whole Story | 31 Comments

Don has crossed over into heaven. He died peacefully at 12:48pm. Please continue to pray for Heather and the boys.

Skip, for Heather, Johnny, Bo

My report early this morning spoke of Don’s condition as of early evening yesterday (Wednesday). Heather says that later in the evening he rallied, was about 75% lucid, and the two of them spent some priceless moments talking about surrendering our wills to God, about forgiveness, about grace, and about love.

This morning Don was not in good shape, which is why Heather put out the word for there to be no visitors. Later in the afternoon Don rallied again, and had some good moments of interaction and prayer. One of the nurses helped Heather to understand, that even in these very late stages, the life in Don ebbs away like a tide, then comes back in, only to go out, and come in again.

Heather, her family, and all of us continue to pray — giving God no rest — that Don can walk out of that hospital with a revived liver. Do not think for one moment that Heather is in denial. Just a few days ago Heather and the boys had a private time with Don during which they “released him” from this life, and told him they would be all right even if he were to cross over into heaven. They let him know he need not cling on to this life just for their sakes. Tonight Heather explained this as well as I have ever heard it explained: the prayer for Don’s miraculous healing, and the release and permission she and the boys gave to Don to die, are two sides of the same coin. Like so much of life in Christ, it is a paradox. And it is truth — truth that gives us freedom to grieve the imminent loss of someone so dear to us, and at the same time pray for miraculous recovery.

So let’s all come alongside brave Heather, grieve over Don, but pray fervently for his healing!

Skip, for Don & Heather

ps – Heather asks that we continue to abide by the no visitor request until further notice.

Heather has just asked that there be no visitors until further notice. She needs to be alone with Don right now.