Valerie Joy Poppema, 38, of Ekalaka, Montana went to be with the Lord on Saturday, March 21 after a courageous fight with cancer.
Valerie was born in Zeeland, Michigan on November 15, 1981, the daughter of Bruce and Patricia Payne. Valerie grew up in Holland, MI, graduating high school in 1999. She continued her education at Grace Bible College in Wyoming, MI, where she earned her Human Services Bachelor’s Degree and a minor in Biblical Studies. Along with excelling in the classroom, Valerie was a standout basketball player, especially in college. Valerie married Brian Poppema in April 2006. Their love blessed them with six wonderful children, Owen, Sadie, Trent, Emma, Clive and Fiona. Her children were the light of her life.
Valerie’s relationship with her Lord and Savior was her motivation in life. She found her joy in sharing the Gospel. This joy brought Valerie and Brian to Ekalaka where they made Trails End Ranch their home for nearly seven years, sharing the Good News.
Valerie lived her life to the fullest and never missed out on the opportunity for an extreme adventure. As a teenager she rode her bike across the state of Michigan. As a young adult she loved going on off-road jeep rock climbs with her then- boyfriend Brian. She was the type of person who would help her husband fix a dump truck shaking in close-to-tornado force winds on the side of the road. She loved zip-lining and doing high ropes courses with her children. Even in her final months of life, when her cancer had greatly impaired her physically, she was excited to ride every roller coaster at Six Flags. She was extremely brave and her emotional strength never wavered despite the very difficult fight she endured in her final year. She never complained about her diagnosis, or that she was dealt a short hand with life. She will be greatly missed by all those who were blessed by her during her short time on earth.
Valerie is survived by her husband Brian and her children, Owen Harvey (12), Sadie Sue (11), Trent Oliver (9), Emma Joy (7), Clive Carter (3) and Fiona Anne (1); parents, Bruce (Brenda) Payne, Lowell, MI; Patricia (Chuck) Dagen, Ekalaka, MT; sisters, Stephanie (Ben) McNeil, Chicago, IL; Jaquelyn Payne, Holland, MI. She was excited to meet the two babies she lost before their birth when she arrived in heaven.
Private family services for Valerie will take place at Medicine Rocks Church with Pastor Jim Biswell officiating. Burial will follow at the Medicine Rocks Cemetery. Public memorial services for Valerie will take place in Ekalaka, Montana and in Grand Rapids, Michigan at a later date.