On Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, Valeria Ann Brandt passed away peacefully at the age of 89.
Valeria was born on Aug. 22, 1931 in Schulenburg to Irene and Eddie Farek. She graduated from Schulenburg High School in 1949, and married William L. “Bill” Cooke in 1950. Bill and Valeria raised their six children in Bloomington. Bill passed away in 1975. Valeria was a widow until 2001, when she married Melroy Brandt and moved to San Antonio. In 2016, Melroy and Valeria moved to Weimar to live near several of their children.
Valeria, also known as “Mama Cooke” to her grandchildren, was passionate about education, having served as Director of Adult Education in Victoria before her retirement in 1993. After retirement, she took up painting and renewed her joy of dancing, becoming active in the Polka Lovers Klub of America. She and Melroy loved traveling, especially going on cruises. While living in San Antonio, they were very active in St. John Neumann Catholic Church in Windcrest, where Valeria served two terms as regent of Catholic Daughters of America for the State of Texas and Eucharistic Minister. She was also a member of The Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem. Once living in Weimar, Valeria loved helping out at the family winery, visiting new friends, playing bunco where she was affectionately known as “Bunco Queen” or “Mama Cheater,” baking cookies and playing with her two cats. Valeria lived her life actively and faithfully, with the word of God as her compass. From everyone who met her, even her caregivers near the end of her life, she was described as “the sweetest lady.”
Valeria is survived by her husband, Melroy; six children, Cynthia (Mike) Smith, Mark (Mary) Cooke, Kathleen (Pete) Schindler, John (Kari) Cooke, Mary Beth (Stan) Johnson and Patrick (Sherrie) Cooke; three stepsons, Cliff (Young) Brandt, Keith (Tina) Brandt and Jason (Jahnnette) Brandt; sister-in-law, Elsie Farek (Thomas (d)), and brother, Eugene Farek (Lillian (d)); 21 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews.
The family received visitors beginning at 9 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 12, 2020, at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church in Schulenburg, followed by a recitation of the rosary at 9:30 a.m. and the Catholic Mass of Christian Burial beginning at 10 am. After the Mass, interment of Valeria’s cremains was held at Sts. Cyril & Methodius Catholic Cemetery in Dubina.
In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to one of Valeria’s favorite causes – Catholic Daughters of America Scholarship Fund. These contributions can be sent to Maria Juarez, c/o Court Daughters of Our Lady of Fatima #2596, 325 Fenwick Dr., San Antonio, TX 78234.