DR. COLLEEN RUTH VALENTE, age 63, passed away peacefully with her loving family by her side on Monday, January 6, 2020 (T.B.R.H.S.C). Colleen was born in Adrian, Minnesota on May 24th, 1956, the daughter of Harry and Darlene (Jacobs) Engelkes.
Colleen began early in life learning the value of hard work on the family farm in Southwestern Minnesota until the age of 18. Here, she honed this skill through early morning tasks that included feeding the various animals, milking cattle and harvesting the crops. True to herself, Colleen quickly learned these skills and in her thirst for knowledge, decided to attend nursing school. Although this choice, being away from family was difficult, Colleen could not keep herself from taking on new challenges, a trend that followed her throughout her life. Thankfully, this path lead her to work in Rochester, Minnesota at the Mayo Clinic with specialization in cancer treatment. This is where she met her future loving husband of 42 years Joe.
Joe and Colleen were married in July 1977 which brought her to Thunder Bay. In the early years, Colleen focused on her family, giving birth to three wonderful boys. In the years that followed Colleen provided unending care and compassion to raising these boys and gave them unconditional love and support. Colleen was also so proud of her grandchildren and really enjoyed sharing her love with them. There wasn’t much in life that Colleen couldn’t master. She was an avid gardener, loved sewing, knitting, crocheting, quilting and cooking. Once these boys had chosen their path in life, Colleen then went back to satisfy her desire for knowledge and to share her care and compassion for others. This is when she decided to further her education; first with a master’s degree in nursing (Dean Braun medal for highest ranking student), then a nurse practitioner diploma, then a master’s degree in acute care. Finally, she decided to reach the precipice of her career in attaining her doctorate in medicine.
Colleen leaves behind to grieve, her loving husband Joe, sons Dr. Joe (Laura), Michael, Julia; David; Jonathan (Megan), Annabelle, Jack, Valente; brother Alan (Deanna), Aaron, Chris, Kari, Engelkes (Minnesota); brother-in-law Bruno (Donna, deceased), Louie (Alana); Dr. Tony (Dr. Christy), Oliver; Angie, Valente; brother-in-law Frank, Nicholas, Anthony, Catareana; sister-in-law Rose (Tony), Samuel, Dr. Lucas (Dr. Amanda), Angelica, Migliazza.
Colleen was predeceased by her parents Harry & Darlene Engelkes; father and mother-in-law Luigi & Angelina Valente; sister-in-law Donna Valente; and many uncles and aunts.
Funeral services for the late Dr. Colleen Valente will be held on Friday, January 10, 2020 when family and friends will gather at St. Anthony’s R.C. Church for funeral mass beginning at 11:00 am, private interment will follow at St. Andrew’s Catholic Cemetery. Visitation for family and friends will be held on Thursday, January 9, 2020, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. with a Vigil Service beginning at 7:00 p.m. in the Sargent & Son Funeral Chapel, 21 N. Court Street. Should friends so desire, in lieu of flower memorials, donations can be made to the Thunder Bay Regional Health Sciences Foundation – Northern Cancer Fund. Arrangements in care of the Sargent and Son Funeral Directors, 21 N. Court St. Online condolences may be made at www.sargentandson.com.