Valerie Rockaitis

Obituary of Valerie A. Rockaitis

Valerie A. Rockaitis

(nee Torrey)


Valerie A. Rockaitis, passed away peacefully, on Monday, December 11, 2023, at Lightways Hospice, at the age of 71.  Valerie was born on June 27, 1952, the only daughter of Merle Henry Sr. and Vera Evangeline (nee Watson) Torrey.  Born and raised in Dubuque, IA, she was a graduate of Senior High School with the Class of 1970.   After proudly serving in the United States Navy, Valerie furthered her education and received her Associates Degree in Horticulture from Joliet Junior College.  Her love of flowers and gardening lead her to enjoy a long career as a Manager in several Garden Centers.  She was also a lifetime member of the Girl Scouts of the USA for more than 45 years and was a current member of the Girl Scouts of Greater Chicago and Northwest Indiana (formerly Trailways Girl Scout Council) where she volunteered leading and mentoring volunteers and girls.  Being with the girls was her passion and the girls thought of “Val” as their hero and someone always there to listen. She was a “Sister to Every Girl Scout”.


When she wasn’t enjoying nature, Valerie enjoyed decorating, spending time with family and friends, and had a love of all animals.


Valerie is survived by her son, Nicholas Ruchala; step-daughter, Michele Rockaitis; two granddaughters, Alexis (Stanlee) Buczek and Olivia Rockaitis; her mother, Vera Evangeline Torrey; siblings, James Torrey, Kenneth (Mary) Torrey, and Merle “Bud” Torrey, Jr.; nieces, Monica, Crystal and Heather Torrey; two nephews, Adam and Aaron Torrey; great-nieces and nephews, Jocyln, Jaclyn, and Christian Gonzales; great-great nephew Adrian Compos; and her devoted canine companion, “Vega”.


She is preceded by her two husbands, Mike Ruchala and Rick Rockaitis; and her father, Merle Henry Torrey, Sr.


The family would like to thank Lightways Hospice for their loving care and family support.


Due to the weather, the Memorial Gathering for Valerie A. Rockaitis will be held rescheduled for a later date.


For more information please call 815-741-5500 or visit her Memorial Tribute at where you can share a favorite memory or leave an online condolence.

Memorial Services

Due to the weather, the Memorial Gathering for Valerie A. Rockaitis will be held rescheduled for a later date.