Valerie A. Donley, former nursery school teacher, dies

Valerie Donley was active in the garden club and tennis club on Gibson Island.

Valerie A. Donley, a former nursery school teacher who later served as interim director of what is now the US Lacrosse Foundation, died July 2 at Manor Care Ruxton from complications of a grand mal seizure she suffered June 26.

The former Ruxton resident, who lived on Gibson Island, was 82.


The former Valerie Alexandra Dutton was the daughter of Benjamin Dutton, a Standard Oil Co. of Canada executive, and Diana Hamilton Dutton, a professional dancer. She was born in London and moved with her parents to Toronto because of the onset of World War II.

They later settled in Greenwich, Conn., where she graduated in 1954 from Greenwich Academy. Known for her athleticism, she was captain of the Gold Team her senior year, and was Connecticut state badminton champion.


She was a 1958 graduate of Goucher College. While attending Goucher, she met and fell in love with her future husband, Richard Douglas Donley, whom she married in 1958.

During the 1960s and 1970s, she taught music at what is now Hunt’s Church Preschool in Riderwood. She later worked for the American Heart Association and was interim director during the 1980s of what was then the Lacrosse Foundation, which was located on the Homewood campus of the Johns Hopkins University.

After raising their three children in Ruxton, Mrs. Donley and her husband moved to Gibson Island in 1985, where she was active in the garden club and tennis club, and a member and former head of the Gibson Island Club House committee.

She was also an avid golfer.

Mrs. Donley was a former communicant of the Episcopal Church of the Good Shepherd, Boyce and Carrollton avenues, Ruxton, where a memorial service will be held at 5 p.m. July 23.

In addition to her husband, a retired vice president of Lawrence R. McCoy Lumber & Co. Inc., she is survived by a son, Douglas Michael Donley of Mount Washington; two daughters, Valerie Anne Donley of Rodgers Forge and Diane Louise Haller of Winston-Salem, N.C.; a stepsister, Phyllis Williams of Springfield, Va.; and three grandchildren.