Valsa Elizabeth Pattara, 70, of Clarks Green, PA passed away on February 8, 2021 due to complications related to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). She passed peacefully in her sleep at home with her family by her side.
Valsa was born to Ulahanan (John) and Aleyamma (Elizabeth) Thoppil in Trivandrum, Kerala, India on March 24, 1950. When she was 5 years old, the family moved to Kochi, Kerala where she attended St. Teresa's school and college until she married Varghese Thomas Pattara on May 30, 1968. Valsa and Varghese lived together in Kochi before emigrating to Scranton, PA in 1970.
Ulahanan Thoppil, her father, funded libraries near his village of Matakara, Kerala. He passed his belief in charity and love of education on to Valsa who had a passion for reading about current events and human-interest stories. She grew up in India reading Reader's Digest as well as Time and Life magazines and, more recently, was frequently on her iPad catching up on world events. She instilled this love of reading and learning in all of her children and grandchildren and was proud of each of their accomplishments - including little Bodhi reading to her. Having studied in an all girls Catholic school herself, she was a strong believer in Catholic education for her children and grandchildren.
Following in her mother's footsteps, Valsa was happiest when cooking for others, particularly for parties and holidays. She was renowned for her Kerala dishes as well as for Italian hoagies - which she learned while volunteering at the school kitchen when her children attended St. Mary's Visitation in Dickson City. She took great pride in the fact that her daughters, Beena, Theresa and Elizabeth, all enjoy cooking and entertaining - including making her friend Stephie's American apple pie.
Valsa was a loving and doting wife, mother, grandmother, sister, aunty and friend. She never happier than when cooking her family's favorite meals. She loved caring for children - she never met a baby she couldn't make smile. She thoroughly enjoyed looking after and spending time with her grandchildren as well as nieces and nephews. She never turned down the chance to get down on the dance floor, especially with her grandchildren.
Valsa was a devout Catholic and member of St. Gregory's parish in Clarks Green, PA. She strived to emulate the Blessed Mother's devotion to Christ. She was grateful to complete pilgrimages to various shrines and holy sites including Our Lady of Guadalupe, Rome, Fatima, Lourdes and finally Israel for Easter in 2018 where she and Varghese renewed their wedding vows at the Church in Cana to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.
Valsa is survived by her husband of 53 years, Varghese, her three children Thomas Pattara (Beena) of South Abington Township, Theresa Pattara of Alexandria, VA, and Elizabeth Schuster (Chad) of Chicago, IL; grandchildren Elizabeth and Varghese Pattara and Adelaide Bodhi Schuster; sister Santha Thomas Chunkapurackal (Thomachan) of Kochi; brothers-in-law Joseph Erat of Baton Rouge, LA and George Vallicad of Bangalore, India; sister-in-law Rosamma Thomas of Syracuse, NY; and dozens of nieces, nephews and godchildren.
She is preceded in death by sister Dr. Mary Joseph, brother Dr. Joseph Thoppil and sister Lalitha Vallicad.
The family wishes to thank the following for their hospitality, care, and advice throughout Valsa's ALS journey: Santha & Thomachan, Jose and Mercy Pattara, Dr. Rosamma Thomas, Dr. Cissy Pottanat, Lisa Varkey, PharmD, BCPS, and the staffs of the ALS Association, the ALS Clinic at Geisinger Hospital and the Hospice of the Sacred Heart.
A virtual prayer vigil and funeral mass will be held for family and close friends. Zoom information by request. Interment will be private at Cathedral Cemetery, Scranton. A Celebration of Life and Memorial Service will be scheduled at a future date when COVID transmission risks have subsided.
In keeping with Valsa's commitment to charitable giving and education, in lieu of sending flowers, the family prefers that donations be made in her memory to Regina Dominican High School, 701 Locust Rd, Wilmette, IL 60091, where Elizabeth Schuster is currently President and where a memorial fund has been established in Valsa's name.