After the blessing of a long and full life, Valiera Reed passed away to be with her Heavenly Father, leaving family and friends in sorrow but also grateful for how much she enriched their lives.
Val was 103, which she never expected to reach. But until she died, she remained everything that made her beloved: kind, warm, accomplished, wise and faith-filled. She had a persistence in loving others. She was a devoted mother, a successful real estate broker in Oklahoma City and a leader and volunteer in her community and Lutheran church. She loved to paint, sing, travel, read, dance and, especially, spend time with her large family, including children and grandchildren whom she adored.
Valiera Juanita Heim was born in Covington, Oklahoma, on August 7, 1920, and baptized at St. John’s Lutheran Church there on August 22. Her father Clarence and mother Hilda Brueggemann Heim were from German Lutheran farming families near Enid. The couple would move to Albuquerque when Val was 3; he became a construction manager and Hilda was a homemaker.
The Heims were poor during the Depression, but they endured. Val loved music and learned to play the violin, begging her parents to allow her to take lessons. (She would later play in the St Cloud Symphony in Minnesota.) She attended a one-room school at Immanuel Lutheran Church through 8th grade and then Albuquerque High School. She had the highest English grade in New Mexico as a high school sophomore.
Val was a cradle-to-grave Lutheran and loved the Lord and His Word about redemption by God’s grace alone through faith alone. She was confirmed at Immanuel on March 25, 1934. In 1942, Val married Herbert Fritze, a Lutheran pastor who was called to Seattle to launch a mission church, which would become Mount Olive Lutheran. Val helped prepare a vacant store building for worship and Sunday School. Their first son Melvin (Skip) was born in 1943. As World War II grew bleak, Herb joined the U.S. Navy as a chaplain, and he and Val moved to Rhode Island and Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, where he was assigned. After Herb was sent to the Philippines, Val returned to Albuquerque, where their daughter, Cheryl, was born.
After the war, they moved to St. Cloud for Herb’s chaplaincy post, then to Topeka, which had training hospitals for psychiatrists, including one tied to the famous Menninger Clinic. Herb and Val got to know the Menninger brothers and their wives; she attended many lectures and volunteered to help teach lobotomized patients to re-learn things like eating and speaking. It presaged her love for volunteering to help others in Oklahoma. Herb and Val bought a home and had a busy, exciting life. Their third child, David, was born in 1953 and fourth child, Mark, born in 1958.
They next moved to Tulsa for Herb to finish a master’s degree in counseling, then to Oklahoma City under the auspices of the Oklahoma District for the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.
As her children grew older, Val began to expand her horizons. She assisted Herb as a secretary and took courses at Hill’s Business University and Central State College. A friend persuaded her to take a real-estate course and become a Realtor, which she did, and then, within several years, a broker. She managed a Mike Jones Company office in south Oklahoma City and would work three decades of long days and weekends, helping people buy and sell homes. She loved working with people. Her car, with its 5-foot-2 driver, would move fast, often a stack of real-estate signs shimmying in the trunk. Yet she found time to continue volunteering – for the Red Cross at University of Oklahoma Medical Center, the Lutheran Women’s Missionary League, a prisons ministry, the Lutheran Social Services Guild, and many church committees and groups.
Val faced difficult personal times in the late 1970s, as she and Herb divorced. In 1981, she married Clyde Reed, who worked for a consumer products company and was widowed, and she was embraced by the Reed family. Val and Clyde had a loving, fulfilling life until Clyde died of a heart attack in 1985. She retired from real estate in 2005.
Val had many graceful dimensions. She painted landscapes, sang in the Messiah Lutheran Church choir, square- and line-danced, wrote beautifully, traveled overseas, read books and always her Bible, played bridge and bingo, and became a texter and Facebook poster into her 100s. She was a docent at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum and served on the board of Concordia Life Plan Community in OKC, where she lived for about 13 years. Previously, she was at Epworth Villa. She cherished her large family, including her many grandchildren and greats, and her friends, new and old.
“Looking at my life in retrospect,” she once wrote for family, “I realize more and more how God was preparing me from little on for the circumstances and events that were to come. I have lived a long, full life, with untold hardships, yet untold blessings. My faith in my Lord has made the difference and He is my greatest blessing.”
Val was preceded in death by her parents Clarence Heim and Hilda Brueggemann Heim, brother Melvin (Buddy) Heim, daughter Cheryl Ann Fritze Bredeson, and grandson Brian Fritze.
She is survived by her son Melvin (Skip) Fritze and wife Pat, son David Fritze and wife Debra, son Mark Fritze and wife Melinda, and son-in-law Jon Bredeson. She is also survived by 12 grandchildren, 13 great grandchildren, 1 great-great grandchild, and, through the Parker and Reed families, 3 stepchildren and many step grand and great grandchildren.
The funeral service will be held at 10:30 AM on Saturday, January 6, 2024, at Messiah Lutheran Church, 3600 NW Expressway, Oklahoma City, OK 73112. Viewing will be held directly before at 9:30 AM in the same location. Burial will follow at Resurrection Memorial Cemetery.