Life Story / Obituary
When reflecting on the life of Victor Valentine, it is easy to see that he was a lover of life. He worked hard, but he certainly played hard, too, and he brought the world around him to life as well. A devoted family man, Victor treasured his family, and there was nothing that he cherished more than witnessing his family tree blossom to include the grandchildren who were his greatest source of pride and joy. He enjoyed traveling all over and seeing so many of the best things that the world has to offer, but what made these experiences truly extraordinary was sharing them with the ones he loved. Life will never be the same without Vic here, but he leaves behind a timeless legacy that his loved ones will carry on in his footsteps.
During the first half of the 1940s, the eyes of our nation were focused overseas as countless young men and women were serving in WWII. With the war’s end in 1945, America began making the shift to being a nation at peace once again. This same year was filled with celebration for Victor Vincent and Emma Doris (Curry) Valentine as they announced the birth of their baby boy, Victor Vincent Jr., on July 19, 1945, in Kalamazoo, Michigan. He was one of three in the Valentine clan as he was raised alongside his sisters, Nancy and Freda. Raised on his maternal grandparents’ farm in Kalamazoo, Victor was very active in 4-H as he showed animals at the Kalamazoo County Fair. As a kid he became known as Buck or Bucky because he once found a fawn whose mother had been hit by a car and took him home to raise as a pet.
In many ways Vic was a young boy of his generation. He started off attending a one-room schoolhouse and later attended Portage High School. Victor enjoyed hunting with his father from the time he was a very young boy, and this is where he developed his passion for guns. Hunting was especially important during his teen years. He and Sharon’s brother, Jim, frequently went hunting at “Horsebridge Place” where the pheasants were so thick they could shoot them right from their car windows as they drove down the road. Vic was so proud of his first car, a Model A, and he later got an MG.
Not to be forgotten during his years in high school was Vic’s introduction to the young girl who would change the course of his life forever. Her name was Sharon Centilla, and they became high school sweethearts. They later married, and together Vic and Sharon were blessed with the births of four children, Victor Vincent, Shannon Louise, Andrew Gerald, and Russell Wade Tecumseh. Also as a young man, Vic enlisted in the Air Force in 1966 and was stationed in Ellsworth Air Force Base in South Dakota. He was sent to serve during the Vietnam War in 1970. Vic spent time serving in Thailand and once had to rush out into the jungle to cover up an SR-71 Lockheed “Blackbird” that had crashed due to mechanical failure.
Throughout his life Vic worked hard. He started out as a janitor at Triple S Plastics while attending Western Michigan University. After graduating from Western, Vic worked his way up at Triple S, eventually becoming partner and president of the company before retiring in 2001. Always resourceful, he also established his own company, Victor Plastics, but he eventually merged back in to Triple S Plastics.
When Vic married Natalie, he later became a father to three more children: Tyler Jet, Charles Huff, and Jackson Henry Goodrich. It was shortly after his seventh child’s birth that Vic retired at the age of 56. He was always an active part of his children’s lives, but being retired allowed him even more time to live the good life. Vic always taught his children the importance of hard work including things like baling hay, cutting wood, feeding farm animals, and everyday chores as well. He loved taking his kids to Cedar Point, Disney World, and the airshow in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, however, the most memorable trip was the boys trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, in 1995. Vic also enjoyed whitewater rafting with his kids on the “New River Gorge” in West Virginia and pheasant hunting with the boys in South Dakota. He took his entire family to Hawaii when he married Natalie in 1997, and while there they went whale watching, golfed, and also went scuba diving. Vic additionally took his family on a Caribbean cruise in 1999. One of their last family vacations was in 2011 when they went to Colorado for the “Valentine Family Reunion.”
During his retirement years, Vic satiated his love for gourmet cooking, golfing, and spending time outside. He especially loved morel mushroom hunting in the spring. Victor loved learning everything he could about the Civil War era with Custer and Lincoln being among his favorites. His passion for history was illustrated through his memoirs, paintings, and his gun collection. Vic was also known for taking the entire family golfing without a care in the world. He took on several home improvement projects, spent a lot of time reading, and marked spring break in Florida every year where he shared his love for fishing with his boys. Known as Grandpa Buck to his grandkids, Vic also shared many of his passions with them as Grant really took to his love for collectables. He also looked forward to his golf league on Mondays and Wednesdays. Vic was a fan of the Detroit Pistons during the “bad boy era,” and he was lucky enough to watch them in the finals against the Lakers in 1989.
Described as vibrant, charismatic, and incredibly wise, Victor Vincent was truly one of a kind. He always had a positive attitude, and his zest for life was contagious to all who were near. Generous beyond measure, Vic was always willing to lend a helping hand, and there was nothing quite like one of his jokes. His love for his family was easy to see, and he was so proud of his children and grandchildren. Deeply loved and a friend to all, Vic will be forever missed.
Victor Vincent, Jr. Valentine, of Kalamazoo, died on May 18, 2016. Members of his family include 7 children: Victor Vincent Valentine, III, Shannon (Edward) Campbell, Andrew (Jennifer) Valentine, Russell Wade Tecumseh Valentine, Tyler Jet Valentine, Chase Valentine, and Jackson Henry Valentine; 3 grandchildren: Cooper Campbell and Grant and Harper Valentine; sister, Freda (Bob) St. John, mother of his 3 youngest children, Natalie Valentine and many nieces and nephews. Vic was preceded in death by his parents and by his sister, Nancy Patel. Cremation will take place and private services are scheduled. Please visit Vic’s personal memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can archive a favorite memory or photo and sign his guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. Life Story Funeral Home, Betzler-Kalamazoo, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo 375-2900