WATERTOWN, NY — Rae Kathryn Griffin Valianos, 88, passed away Saturday, Oct. 30, 2021, at Samaritan Medical Center.
She was born June 3, 1933, in Watertown, NY, the daughter of the late Jesse Griffin and Alvira LaBounty Griffin.
Rae graduated from IHA (Immaculate Heart Academy) at the age of 16 in 1949 and started working for an architectural firm in Watertown, NY. From there she went to work at Camp Drum (now Fort Drum) as a civilian clerk in the ordinance section. Rae later transferred to Fort Dix, still in the ordinance field. She holds the distinction of being the first female to graduate from the 10-week ammunition officers’ course at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds, MD. This training allowed her to work as the assistant to the chief post ammunition officer.
She married Floyd (Bob) Reno in 1960 and, as a military spouse, was stationed in many installations including Germany, Georgia, and three locations in California. Rae left government service to raise their three daughters. The marriage ended in divorce in 1978. Rae was involved with the Parent Teacher Organization as her daughters advanced in school. Sewing costumes for various events for her daughters and their classmates was something she enjoyed.
In the late 1970s Rae went to work as a secretary for Parker Soper Architects. In 1981 she started working at Fort Drum as a supply clerk. When she retired from government service in 1993 due to health reasons, she was the Supervisory General Supply Specialist GS-12.
Rae was a volunteer for more than thirty years in the Mercy and Samaritan Hospital gift shops. She also was a Lay Eucharistic Minister serving the patients of both hospitals. She was a member of the Samaritan Axillary for many years. In her later years Rae was an avid reader. She enjoyed knitting mittens for her two daughters’ classrooms and newborn outfits for family and friends.
Rae is survived by her husband of 39 years, James J. Valianos. She is also survived by two daughters, Dianna Yadanza (David), and Kathleen Scheftic (Peter); seven grandchildren, Shannon Hatch (James), Allison Cebula (Joseph), Thomas Howard (Nikki), Felicia Cammilleri (Joe), Tricia Nagel (Shawn), Tiffany Yadanza and Griffin Scheftic, as well as 10 great-grandchildren.
Rae was predeceased by a daughter, Carol Anne Reno, a brother, Jesse Griffin, a sister, Joan Marie Hager, a sister-in-law, Shirley Griffin and a brother-in-law, Chris Valianos.
Calling hours will be 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 3, 2021, at the D.L. Calarco Funeral Home, Inc. A funeral service will be held 10 a.m. Thursday at the funeral home. Burial will follow in Glenwood Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, for those who wish, memorial contributions may be made to either St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or the Watertown Urban Mission, 247 Factory St., Watertown, NY 13601.
Online condolences may be made to www.dlcalarco.com