Valma Eastgate Krapf, 88, WWII Australian war bride who became the matriarch of her family is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.

Valma Eastgate Krapf
Valma Eastgate Krapf

A remarkable woman has passed away. Mrs. Valma Eastgate Krapf, formerly of Charles Street, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, died April 20, 2015, in Reading, Pennsylvania surrounded by her family. She was 88.

Valma was born in Brisbane, Australia on Jan. 28, 1927, to Walter and Emily Turner Eastgate. She came to the United States in 1946 at age 19 as a war bride on the S.S. Mariposa after marrying U.S. Army Warrant Officer Edward Wynne Krapf of Hazleton, Pennsylvania.

Widowed at age 55, Val became the matriarch and heart of her large, close family that includes four children, Richard and wife, Peggy, Anne Lizik, John and partner, Pene Norville and Barbara Stinson and husband, Larry and daughter-in-law, Denise Krapf. She is also survived by 11 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

An energetic and independent woman, Val worked full-time until age 80 when she retired as office manager for Power Builders. She made a number of trips to her native Australia over the years, including one in 2007 with her sons, who met many of their Australian family for the first time. She also loved traveling to visit her children and grandchildren across Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia and Arizona and spent many memorable summer vacations with her family in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.

A long-standing tradition loved by all were the annual Thanksgiving gatherings at her house where upwards of 20 family members would descend to reconnect with each other and enjoy “Gran’s famous pumpkin pie.” She was a lifelong member of the First Presbyterian Church of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, where she also served as a deacon.

She attended a fitness center regularly and was a member of the Anthracite Rose Western Dance Club since 1992. She was honored by the club at a dinner dance on April 11 – the night before she fell ill. She had recently moved to Reading, Pennsylvania, to be closer to her daughter, Barbara. Although her passing was unexpected, she lived life to the fullest, departing while she was still vibrant and active.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 16, 2015, at First Presbyterian Church, 97 South Franklin St., Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania. Light refreshments will be served at the fellowship hall afterward. Interment will follow at Oak Lawn Cemetery for the immediate family.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the First Presbyterian Church or the Anthracite Rose Western Dance Club, 1320 Mountain View Drive, Dallas, PA 18612.

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