The Funeral Whisperer
It's not the life she imagined. Valerie's art education began when she was the age of 3 - recognizing her creative ability, her parents enrolled her into pre-school at Joslyn Art Museum. She attended Tulane University, specializing in printmaking and graduated in 1981 from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Drawing. For 25 years Valerie designed stickers and stationery for major home party companies including The Pampered Chef and Longaberger Baskets.
Valerie's daughter, Megan, grew up in the business, and obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Marketing in 2004, with the goal of one day taking over the business. But life can turn in a moment.
"We make plans. God laughs."
Weeks after her graduation, Megan was diagnosed with adrenal cancer, a one in a million disease that claimed her life after a 44 month battle. Prior to her death, Megan said, "Mom, I'm not an old woman - I don't want the gold praying hands on my funeral stuff." Charged to use her best creative powers, Valerie and Megan worked together designing note cards and magnets, sent to everyone (almost 1000 attendees) that honored Megan's life by coming to the funeral.
Valerie will be first to admit she struggled to put one foot in front of the other when her daughter died. Creativity seemed far from her. But in the days ahead when she ventured out she would run into people who would stop her and say, "You don't know me...but I was at Megan's funeral, and you should do that for a living..."
There were hard days between then and now. Valerie returned to school at age 55 to master InDesign and Photoshop - for three years, two evenings a week were spent with a hired tutor, helping Valerie develop new skills for the 21st century of design. Even in those dark days, she purposed in her mind that she would do things the funeral industry had never seen before. With every family, the goal is to creating a lasting keepsake, not a disposable piece of paper.
It's been 13 years since Megan's passing, and Valerie has designed and printed thousands of programs. Each memorial is given prayerful consideration to enable her to capture the life in print of the loved one who passed. This intuitive gift prompted people to begin referring to her as "The Funeral Whisperer."
The Funeral Whisperer Team
It takes a little village to meet the 24 hour needs of those who grieve.
Lead Graphic Designer
Maxwell Ambris is the Senior Pastor at The Fort Street Church of Christ in Omaha, Nebraska. His skills as a pastor coupled with his extraordinary command of Photoshop make him a huge asset to The Funeral Whisperer Team.
To Be Announced
The Voice of Our Podcast
One is the loneliest number, so The Funeral Whisperer podcast will be partnered with some of the best and funniest voices in Nebraska. Watch for the announcement in the near future.
The Next Steps...
If you'd like to speak to us about developing a memorial, click the button to the right and we would be happy to help.