Obituary: Holly Valach Hanley, 1961-2022 | Obituaries | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Obituary: Holly Valach Hanley, 1961-2022

South Burlington woman had a contagious smile and her greatest achievement was raising her children

Published January 6, 2022 at 6:00 a.m.
Updated January 31, 2022 at 3:23 p.m.

  • Courtesy Photo
  • Holly Hanley

It is with profound sadness and heavy hearts that we share the unexpected passing of Holly Valach Hanley on January 2, 2022.

Holly was born in Plattsburgh, N.Y., on December 26, 1961, and was the daughter of Victor and Ethel Valach of Champlain, N.Y. She was raised on Oak Street in a community with a close-knit circle of friends, many of whom continued throughout her entire life, particularly Heather (Rowe) Casey, Kurt Southwick and Lisa Maskell. She graduated from Northeastern Clinton Central School in 1980 and pursued a career in the medical support field, most recently at the University of Vermont Medical Center in radiology.

Holly had a beautiful and contagious smile that brought joy to those around her, a wonderful sense of humor that surfaced even in the most difficult of times, and a true gift in helping those in pain feel consoled and loved. Family, friends and patients who were lucky enough to have known Holly will always treasure the ways she touched their lives.

Holly’s greatest achievement was raising her two children, Bridget and Patrick, whom she loved dearly and who encompassed her entire world. She found great joy in time spent at Hinkum Pond in Sudbury, Vt., where her family gathered annually for summer reunions, always enjoying the serenity of days and nights spent by the water, countless hours of floating and kayaking, and appreciating the occasional loon sightings. She loved taking care of her gardens at home and was always bringing arrangements to every family event and to whomever she knew was ill or going through a rough patch in life. She took particular pride in her signature “Holly” arrangements during Christmastime as her seasonal namesake gift.

There is no doubt that Holly brought an abundance of laughter to any event she attended. Her personality and energy would fill a room and make even a small gathering of friends a lifetime memory. Whether it was her dancing antics or the imitations she mastered, she would infuse fun and laughter at the perfect moments. She was truly the life of the party and will be remembered and missed by everyone who encountered her spirited soul. We feel blessed and fortunate that we were able to celebrate her 60th birthday with her before her untimely death. It truly was a gift to us, and we will always cherish that, in her last days, she was surrounded by family and friends.

Holly is predeceased by her beloved parents, Vic and Ethel; and in-laws, Bill and Joan Hanley.

She is survived by her husband, Christopher Hanley, and son, Patrick, both of South Burlington, Vt.; daughter, Bridget, of Essex Junction, Vt.; sister and brother-in-law Tami and Tony Nori of Port Charlotte, Fla.; sister and brother-in-law Linda and Brian Donahue of Essex Junction, Vt., and their children Jack, Kevin, Liam and Maggie; and brother Steve of Mystic, Conn., and his daughter Alex. Holly also leaves her aunt and uncle Richard and Jean Pulsifer; aunt Shirley Cheek; several cousins; and a large extended Hanley family.

The family is grateful for the outpouring of support and love during this difficult time. If desired, contributions can be made to the Howard Center, 208 Flynn Ave., Suite 3J, Burlington, VT 05401.

A celebration of Holly's life will take place at her sister Linda's home on Saturday, May 28, 2022.

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