Valerie Leonova Prager of Montreal, Quebec, passed away in her 83rd year, on Monday, March 13, after a long battle with colon cancer.
Valerie was born on October 23, 1940, to Alexandra and Ivan Leonov in Chita – a small town in Siberia, USSR. She always had an adventurous spirit and at the tender age of 16 left her home and moved to Moscow to continue her education. She studied business, not because it was her passion, but because it was practical. While at the university in Moscow, she met her future husband, art student Igor Prager.
Valerie and Igor were married in Moscow in 1959, and because a family friend worked at the main Moscow radio station, their wedding was announced on the air on Moscow Speaks, a fact she sometimes reminisced about.
Valerie and Igor soon welcomed their first child, a daughter, Elena (Helen) and a year and a half later a son Vladimir (Walter). Valerie continued to dream of adventures and travel, so as soon as an opportunity presented itself, she flew to Montreal, on a 6-month assignment as part of the Russian delegation at World Expo of 1967.
While in Canada, Valerie made many new friends with whom she kept in touch years later, some of whom were instrumental in Valerie and Igor’s subsequent immigration to Canada. Immigration from the Soviet Union in the early 70’s was not easy, but Valerie’s determination ensured the family’s successful exit and subsequent settling in the Montreal suburb of Dollard des Ormeaux.
Valerie continued her amazing journey when, at the age of 50, she returned to school and earned a Master of Arts degree from McGill University. This allowed her to teach Humanities at John Abbott College. After official retirement she continued as a teacher volunteer into her 70s.
Throughout her life Valerie accomplished so much. She attended the World Expo. Immigrated from the Soviet Union. Translated multiple books and articles, including Thomas Heinze’s Creation vs. Evolution. She traveled the world visiting various Soviet Republics, Canada, USA, Italy, Israel, Greece, Turkey and Egypt. Earned 2 Master’s degrees. Taught Russian, Art History and Humanities at college level. Raised a family and lived long enough to see her children and grandchildren thrive and even to see and hold 2 of her great grandchildren.
Valerie made an impact on so many people. She was a beloved wife, mother, sister, aunt, grandmother, great grandmother and a friend to many. We will miss her greatly.
Valerie was preceded in death by her husband Igor. She is survived by her children, Helen Sallee and Walter Prager, her grandchildren, Drake and Blair Lenhan, Adam, Sean, Erica and Sarah Prager, great grandchildren William and Valerie Lenhan, sister Ana Casto and niece Irena Kalenik.
Funeral service will be held at the Garden Chapel of Tubman Funeral Homes, 3440 Richmond Road, Nepean on Friday, March 17, 2023, at 11 a.m., reception to follow. Burial will take place at Beechwood Cemetery. For those unable to attend the service in person a live stream option will be available by scrolling below.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Valerie’s name to the Colorectal Cancer Canada.
Colorectal Cancer Canada