Valentine Vernon Craig, née Valentine Peace Vernon died on August 16, 2019 in Middletown, Rhode Island, she was 101 years old.
Valentine was born in New York City on March 29, 1918, her parents were Valentine Anais Joséphine Marie Louise Dorn, born in Fort de France, Martinique and Grenville Phillips Vernon from Newport, Rhode Island. Her first languages were French, Créole and English.
Valentine met her husband Edward Joseph Craig on the Broadway show Johnny Belinda in 1940; when he was studying violin at The Julliard School. Valentine was the understudy for Edward’s sister Helen Craig, she also played Audrey on Broadway in As You Like It (1941) and was in many off Broadway shows. In R.I. Valentine was a member of the Newport and Providence Playhouse and Summer Stock Theater.
Her husband enlisted as an Officer in the US Marines after Pearl Harbor, and Valentine became a member of the USO at the Stage Door Canteen in NYC. When her husband returned from the Battle of Guadalcanal, she settled in Middletown, Portsmouth and Jamestown, Rhode Island. She had ten children, four horses, two St. Bernard’s a Doberman pinscher, five poodles and a stray dog she loved company! She did not like cats and was overly suspicious of anyone who did.
Valentine lived in Paris, France and New York City before returning to Newport. Valentine was a descendent of William Vernon and her family has lived in Newport since its founding.
Aside from her love of dogs, some would say obsession, Valentine loved her gardens. She was a formidable Chef, she took food seriously, and her children in the age of Wonder bread attended school with pumpernickel bread for sandwiches. She was known in RI for serving “moules marinières” to her children and friends, those foul little black muscles which grew on rocks which the locals thought were disgusting and inedible in the 1960s.
She loved to travel, while in France she would pile her children into the VW bus and visit another town each weekend. A memory of her is passing by a trucker who was letting nature take its course and she shouted “faites un bon pee pee!” Then winking at her astounded children.
She was usually dressed in black, with black high heels, shiny jewelry and red lipstick, oh and the beret, that was de rigeur. She was hard to miss on the streets of Jamestown, RI in the 1960’s and 70’s.
She loved her ten children, her 27 grandchildren and her 14 great grandchildren, who would make the pilgrimage to visit her for their official recognition as a member of her tribe. À bientôt Popotte.
A Mass of Christian burial will be held at St. Mary’s Church, Newport on Wednesday, August 21, 2019 at 10:00 am. Burial to follow at St. Columba Cemetery, 465 Brown’s Lane, Middletown.