Audrey Noel Valentzas passed away peacefully at home on July 10, surrounded by her children. She was 85.
Audrey was beautiful, loving, compassionate, adventurous, funny and an inspiration to everyone who knew her.
Born on Dec. 11, 1933 to Bert and Sylvia Soderblom, she grew up in Altadena, California and honored her Scandinavian roots by dancing at Swedish picnics and festivals across the state.
Audrey graduated from Berkeley, where she was a member of the Delta Delta Delta sorority, and began teaching in Oakland before taking a break to hitchhike across Europe the start of a lifelong quest to travel the globe and learn firsthand the history of the world.
During her travels she met the love of her life in Munich and married Richard “Dick” Valentzas in Tokyo in 1959.
Audrey spent the next few years in Korea and Guam teaching, painting, playing tennis, scuba diving, surviving typhoons and raising daughters Paget and Michele.
— This obituary previously was published by the Marin Independent Journal
Audrey and Dick moved to Connecticut and sons Erik and Jason were born before the family returned to the West Coast and settled in Mill Valley, California where they reunited with old friends and established enduring new friendships.
Audrey instilled a love of adventure in her children at an early age, traveling solo with the kids while Dick was on business, including a visit to Angkor Wat, camping in Yosemite and Death Valley and a remarkable three-month trek across Mexico with her children in 1974.
The family relocated back to Darien, and Audrey continued the tradition of family road trips, taking the kids to Montreal, New Orleans and everywhere in between, singing “We’re On Our Way.”
After all the children moved out, Dick and Audrey retired, sold their home, bought an RV (two actually) and spent 12 years circling the U.S., Canada and Mexico and traveling throughout Europe.
They journeyed wherever their love of history and adventure took them and the family would meet every year to celebrate Christmas in exotic locations such as Puerto Escondido, Rome, Barcelona and Caracas.
Audrey had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge and loved reading, hiking, visiting museums, debating politics (always with an open mind) and above all else, spending time with friends and family.
Audrey instilled in her children a sense of wonder and adventure. She is survived by her brother, Art Soderblom; her children: Paget, Michele, Erik and Jason; and her grandson, Jake.
In lieu of a service, Audrey asked that her ashes be scattered across the High Sierras.