Douglas Brunk

Random ramblings of a programmer and worship geek …

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Tribute to Valerie Joy Brunk Herzler for her memorial service on June 19, 2014

One of the most difficult things I have ever done was to write and then present this tribute for Valerie. In hindsight, I am so glad that I did it.

From the day my dear sister was born in Palermo, Sicily, I have loved her and felt very protective, perhaps on occasion overly so. I would get VERY upset if anyone other than my parents would even touch her or for that matter even look at her. My parents tell stories of my incessant questioning (I know that is hard for many of you to believe) which eventually included, “Can I marry Valerie when we grow up?“

I assume it was early on my Dad coined her family nickname that would stick to this day — Bella Bimba (Beautiful Girl). It comes from an Italian song that I won’t even try to sing for you. Dad with his fatherly eyes captured her essence. Didn’t he? If you see early pictures of her absolute cuteness you can’t help but call her

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Wanda Harder’s Tribute to Valerie Joy Herzler for her memorial service on June 19, 2014

My precious Valerie,

We’ve been friends ever since you moved in across the road in 1975, and I’ve always called you my sister. It’s so hard to put into words who you were to me and how much I will miss you. I’ve spent the past few days going through old photos and replaying thousands of memories. Memories of:

  • picnics
  • climbing trees on the hill
  • endless craft projects
  • wandering all over Park View
  • crazy costumes
  • baking experiments
  • setting up hilarious obstacle courses with Doug in your basement like putting on your dad’s waders and timing each other as we ran around completing a series of tasks
  • hiking with my family
  • just talking
  • listening to my Larry Norman albums
  • letters across the miles when we weren’t in the same country
  • laughing—a LOT
  • being in each other’s weddings
  • being pregnant at the same time
  • playdates when Casey & Joseph were little
  • walking with each other

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My sister’s Obituary

published June 17, 2014

Lloyd, my husband, wrote this beautiful obituary for my dear sister. Hopefully he knows how much we all appreciate how well he captures her essence.

Valerie Joy Brunk Hertzler died suddenly and unexpectedly on Saturday [June 14, 2014] evening. She was 45 years of age.

She was born in Palermo, Sicily, Italy to missionary parents George R. Brunk III and Erma Hess Brunk. She grew up in Palermo, Richmond, and Harrisonburg, Va.

She graduated from Eastern Mennonite High School and received a bachelor’s degree in social work from Eastern Mennonite University in 1991.

Passionate about helping others, she worked for over twenty years at Harrisonburg Rockingham Social Services, most recently as day care social worker.

She was a member of Lindale Mennonite Church.

She is survived by Andre Hertzler, her husband of nearly twenty-four years, and her beloved sons Casey

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Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone

W. H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,

Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,

Silence the pianos and with muffled drum

Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead

Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,

Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,

Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,

My working week and my Sunday rest,

My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;

I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;

Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;

Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.

For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Poem Lloyd read at Valerie’s graveside service

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