Lifetime of Care: As a nurse, mother and wife, Valerie Holdt has dedicated her life to loving, supporting and caring for others

Valerie Holdt has made an incredible impact on her community by working hard for 30 years as an ICU nurse and supervisor. She is highly skilled and trained in that area, but she also has a natural talent for taking care of others. 

Valerie has spent her career sharing that gift with everyone who crossed her path while doing the same at home for Ken and their children, Paul, Daniel and Tara.

Valerie is fresh off her 65th birthday and in the home stretch of her career, where she is looking ahead to the next great chapter of her life. She still has an important job to do between now and then as head nurse manager at the ICU at Stanford Medical Center, but few deserve a chance to sit back and relax more than Valerie, who has spent a lifetime putting others before herself.

“She’s very caring,” Daniel said. “She always lived for others. Her primary goal was to be a good mother. She put us through school, and made sure we were in all the activities and sports we could handle. She used to say the only time we ever slowed down was if we were exhausted. She is just so caring. She cares deeply about the family.”


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The same level of dedication and persistence have always been present for Valerie, whether as a mom looking to keep her kids busy or a nurse prioritizing patient care and doing her job for all the right reasons. Valerie is unstoppable in those respects as she sets her sights on a mission and works until she accomplishes it.

Valerie’s work ethic and her focus on family stick out to her kids as lessons they will carry with them forever. Daniel, Paul and Tara had a perfect example of love and hard work in their mom, who has inspired them and helped all three of them thrive in their own ways.

“She’s passionate and caring and loving, and she always goes after what she wants,” Tara said. “She always put us first and always wanted to make sure we had support.”

Valerie’s persistence is as clear now as ever. She and Ken still live in Gilroy, where they moved when the kids were young, and she makes a 90-minute drive to do her job at Stanford. When the kids were younger, she worked extra jobs to make sure they got the best possible education.

Daniel went on to study at Cal Poly SLO, Tara at the Air Force Academy, and Paul at UC Santa Barbara. Valerie’s mission, the way Paul saw it, was to set the kids up for success and happiness, no matter how they defined it. 

“She did whatever she possibly could for us,” Paul said. “She would be driving us around to sports practices one after another and did whatever she could to maximize our lifestyles and development as kids. She just wanted us to be happy and thriving no matter what path we chose.”

Valerie did whatever it took to create those opportunities for the kids, then she invested herself and ensured they made the most of those chances. She managed to set the bar high for her kids while also being caring, compassionate and supportive. 

Valerie’s door was always open and the kids knew it. They leaned on her for guidance and advice, and she delivered in every way imaginable. Along the way, Valerie also demonstrated to all three kids the meaning of hard work, diligence and persistence.

“She’d always be the one helping us out with school projects,” Daniel said. “We always had the coolest science project because she would be really involved with that. In high school, she helped us sell raffle tickets and we ended up winning the grand prize because she had us walking door to door. her role taking care of us. She always put her energy into other people.”

From motherhood to her 30 years in health care, Valerie has earned the right to expend her energy on whatever she wishes in the months and years ahead. In addition to being selfless and hard-working, Valerie has also been creative and resourceful, so her family has no doubts that she will find plenty of meaningful projects.

Real estate and taking care of people and animals are passions that she could pursue because they can say with confidence that Valerie won’t sit still for long. 

“I think she’s definitely worked really, really hard over the course of her career,” Paul said. “She has earned the chance to sit back, relax and figure out what her next chapter is going to be. She is very creative, and I’m sure she’ll find something to occupy herself.”

As life is about to change and her hard work pays off, Valerie’s kids are full of gratitude and pride. They know how hard their mom works and how willingly she has sacrificed on their behalf, so they can’t wait for her to try new things, travel and otherwise live her best life.

Part of that is enjoying the time and freedom she has earned over the course of her career. But Valerie is also looking forward to the growth and evolution of her family through marriage and, she hopes, grandchildren to come along for her to spoil. 

As much as she has given over the years, she’ll always be a mother at heart who is ready, able and willing to take care of others and make them better people. 

“We love her and we’re really, really proud of her,” Tara said. “She taught me to always support my family, and be good at what I do.”

“I want her to know how much gratitude I have for her as a mother,” Daniel added. “Nobody gets the perfect family, and I feel like I was blessed to have a really great one. I’m grateful that she’s my mom.”

And from Paul: “Thank you for putting so much care and dedication into our lives, and thank you for being such a good mother to us.”

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