Shirley Grandeman Valk

Shirley Grandeman Valk of Hilton Head, S.C., and formerly of New Canaan, died Sunday Dec. 19 after a long battle with cancer. She was 89.

Mrs. Valk grew up in Garden City, New York, attended Skidmore College and graduated from the Katherine Gibbs School.

In 1943 she married J. Garry Valk also from Garden City. During the war years while her husband was with the Army Air Corp in Europe she lived in New York City and did volunteer work for the Red Cross. After the war she and her husband lived in Cleveland, Ohio and Chappaqua, N.Y., before settling their family in New Canaan in 1954.

During 27 years in New Canaan she was very active in many civic activities including the New Canaan Garden Club as well as serving on the board of the Stamford Hospital where she also spent a great deal of time doing volunteer work.

She earned a degree from the New York School of Interior Design and had her own interior design business for 25 years. Mrs. Valk was also a very active athlete making many friends over the years through her participation in golf, tennis and paddle tennis at the Woodway Country Club.

She and her husband moved from New Canaan in 1981 and lived for many years in Sea Island, Ga., Cutchogue, N.Y. and later Manchester, Vt. During this time, she returned to her college major of fine arts while studying and volunteering at the Southern Vermont Arts Center. As a result, she became a very talented artist with many beautiful paintings to her credit.

After her husband's death in 2001, Mrs. Valk later married C. Fred Fitchey of Hilton Head, S.C. and they enjoyed several years together sharing their passion for bridge, croquet and golf.

Aside from Mr. Fitchey, Mrs. Valk is survived by three children, Leslie Valk Benton of Saratoga Springs, N.Y., Lance Valk of Wilton, and Lindsay Valk of New Canaan and four grandchildren, David Benton, Joanna Valk, Chris Valk and Laura Valk.

A memorial service will be held at The Cypress on Hilton Head Island at 1:30 p.m. Monday Dec. 27.

The family asks that in lieu of flowers any contributions be sent to the Valk Family Scholarship Fund, Colgate University, 13 Oak Drive, Hamilton, New York, 13346 or The Hilton Head Humane Society, PO Box 21790, Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, 29925.

The Island Funeral Home and Crematory is in charge of arrangements.