Jan Vala was born in Lincoln, Nebraska on January 11th, 1955 to Hazel and Charles Smith. She graduated from Lincoln Southeast before attending Nebraska Wesleyan University, where she was a flute player and a Delta Zeta sorority sister. After graduating with a degree in Psychology and attending graduate school, she became a school psychologist for OPS. In 1977 Jan married Tim Vala, and for many years she supported their family while Tim focused on building their business, Vala’s Pumpkin Patch, in Gretna, Nebraska. Eventually she joined the business full time and together Jan and Tim created one of the largest agritainment destinations in the nation.
Jan was unfailingly kind, the heart of both the Vala family and the family business. She loved Star Wars, Harry Potter, The Beatles, and she collected Pez dispensers, lunchboxes and tea pots. As a Grandma, Jan always had time for a tea party! Jan is survived by her father and husband, as well as her 3 daughters, Kirsten Fong, Kyla Shaver and Kelsey Donovan; and 5 grandkids, Zoe Fong (7), Ethan Fong (4), Freya Shaver (6), Stefan Shaver (3), and Elias Shaver (9 months).
Jan was a well-loved member of the community, and all who knew her are welcome to attend visitation, Wednesday, September 8th, 3pm to 7pm at Roeder Mortuary, Gretna, Nebraska; and a Celebration of Jan’s Life, Thursday, September 9th, 11am at Vala’s Pumpkin Patch, in the Pavilion. Jan was a voracious reader and always had a stack of books she was reading through. In lieu of flowers the Vala family requests donations which will be sent to The Gretna Library Foundation in her honor.
11710 Standing Stone Gretna, NE