On Tuesday, May 24, 2022, Dr. Valerie Elise McAvey, loving wife and mother of three, passed away at 59 years old. Val was born in Houston, Texas, to John and Emilou Chambers on June 5, 1962. In 1984, she married Richard Andrew McAvey. 

Val received many academic degrees, including a Bachelor of Arts from Houston Baptist University, a Master of Education from Endicott University, and a Doctor of Education in Ethical Leadership from the University of St. Thomas. She also was awarded a Certified Public Accountant license.

Val held progressive roles in data analytics, marketing, and treasury in her early career at the Philadelphia American Life Insurance Company in Houston. She then moved to London, where her first son, John Christopher, was born. While in London, she became the youngest American ever elected as an Anglican Church Warden. After several years, she returned to Houston and gave birth to Matthew William and Sarah Anne. She then reoriented her career to education. She became a certified Montessori teacher for all levels up through high school and spent 15 years teaching at School of the Woods in Houston, where her students affectionately referred to her as “Mama McAvey.” After a year of working as a math and science learning specialist at Episcopal High School, she enrolled in a doctoral program where she earned international recognition for her work studying the impact of a cancer diagnosis on the growing population of graduate students.

Val’s friends and colleagues will remember her for her ability to connect with them on a deeply personal level and enthusiastically help them overcome their most significant life challenges. She was a lifelong learner who loved gardening, pets, jigsaw puzzles, and board games. She had strong spiritual foundations, embodied Christian ideals, and was an active member of Chapelwood/Upper Room churches.  Val was preceded in death by her parents, John and Emilou Chambers, and her brother John “Scott” Chambers. She is survived by her husband, three children, and her beloved sister Louise Nicholson-Carter.