Valerie London

Published 3:52 pm Thursday, February 26, 2009

The first of eight siblings, London was born in Tryon and was raised with a Southern accent she later worked hard to erase. She got a bacjhelor&squo;s degree in English grammar at Berea College in Kentucky and a master&squo;s in drama at Western Reserve University.

London played everything on Cleveland, Ohio&squo;s local stages from a mistress to Mother Mary.

Offstage, she spent 15 years as administrative assistant at the Lakewood Little Theater and its successor, the Beck Center for the Arts. She also volunteered with props, equipment, fundraising and more.

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London won may local awards and compliments. In 1970, the Cleveland Plain Dealer called her &dquo;a woman of many skills.&dquo;

Quiet offstage, she studied and practiced intently when not tending to her four children and countless pets, including a quail that would hop on her shoulder.

London scrounged the region for just the right props, but found many at her husband Robert&squo;s stores, London Furniture and Carpet.

London nearly filled a wall at home with her trophies and certificates. They included best actress and supporting actress awards from Lakewood Little Theater and Bay Village Players.

She performed in &dquo;A Streetcar Named Desire,&dquo; &dquo;Our Town&dquo; (with son James), &dquo;Equus,&dquo; &dquo;Fiddler on the Roof,&dquo; &dquo;The Crucible&dquo; and more. She made commercials for Kirby vacuums, Glidden paint and other products. She also performed in many workshops at schools and organizations such as the Federal Welfare Agency.

She lived in Bay Village and Avon Lake with Robert, her husband of 47 years.

‐ paid obituary