Valerie Joan Marshall

December 1, 1942 - November 20, 2023

Funeral Details: Private Family Service

Valerie Joan Imrie (a.k.a “Miss Daisy”) was born in 1942 and raised in Toronto by Gordon K and Audrey Pearl (Day) Imrie.  As a child, Valerie enjoyed countless idyllic summers at the family cottage on Lake Simcoe with her many cousins and her younger brother – Kenneth.  Her halcyon time on the lake surrounded by friends and family was one of the great joys and comforts of her life and provided a solid base for the exciting journey that followed.


From an early age, Valerie was a competitive figure skater and dancer competing in numerous skating events and even did a brief turn with the Ice Capades.  By her early twenties, Valerie earned her qualifications as a professional figure skating coach and, together with famed Canadian Olympic coach Doug Leigh, taught many future Canadian champions – including Brian Orser and Elvis Stojko.  She also performed in many charity events often skating as a dance pair with her long-time friend and former NHL celebrity Eddie Shack of the Toronto Maple Leafs.  It was through Eddie that Valerie met and became chums with the former Toronto Sun columnist and local TV show host – Paul Rimstead and his wife ‘Miss Hinky’.  Many a fun-filled day was spent with Paul and Eddy and the gang at Paul’s cottage on Buffalo Point often sailing haphazardly around on Paul’s boat - the very aptly named “Drunken Buffalo”.


Never far from the limelight, Valerie also worked as a model and actress over the years and once served as the understudy to Dorothy Malone in the full-length feature presentation “Off Your Rocker” starring Red Buttons and Milton Berle.  Valerie also made appearances in such movies as “Middle Age Crazy” with Bruce Dern and Ann Margaret as well as numerous TV commercials and magazine advertisements.  An accomplished dance and fitness instructor, Valerie once owned a chain of health clubs and dance studios where she taught ‘dance fit’ and yoga classes.  Somehow, in addition to raising her three kids (Shane, Shari, Shawna), Valerie also found time to work as a very successful real estate agent for Campbell Real Estate in Barrie, Ontario where she received numerous awards including ‘Salesperson of the Year’ - three years in a row.


As if all this was not enough, Valerie decided to return to school later in life where she graduated with a ‘Bachelor of Nursing’ degree (with honors) from Humber College.  Serving first as a ward then surgical nurse, Valerie quickly worked her way up through the administrative ranks eventually becoming the Deputy Director of the Women’s Health Centre for St. Michael’s Hospital under the capable tutelage of noted resident physician and medical professor Dr. Christine Derzko.  As a well-regarded authority and frequent lecturer on the topic of women’s health, Valerie traveled the world speaking at countless international forums regularly appearing on numerous television and radio talk shows.  It was during her time at St. Mike’s that Valerie met and became a close companion and lifetime confidant to wonderful Dr. Jerry Zownir, Chief of Internal Medicine.


Not surprisingly, her vast knowledge in the areas of reproductive endocrinology and hormone therapy led to an offer by the Saudi Royal Family to establish a women’s health clinic at the King Fahad National Guard Hospital in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where she worked as Director of Women’s Health for over ten years.  An avid traveler and devout fashion diva, Valerie enjoyed her many sojourns to the runways of Paris and Milan where she eventually set about designing and marketing her own personal line of women’s clothing – “VJ” brand and “Couture Sports”.  During her time in the Middle East and Europe, Valerie attended countless state functions and formal embassy balls often at the personal bequest of her friend and frequent tennis doubles partner, Senator Wyche Fowler the American Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.


After retiring from medicine, Valerie came to spend her winters at her beloved ocean side condo in Palm Beach, Florida.  There she was a card-carrying member (and frequent patron) of both, the Colony Club and the Leopard Lounge where she routinely entertained patrons with her surprisingly talented renditions of popular Broadway standards, often accompanied by local residents such as Rod Stewart, Jimmy Buffet and even a slightly tipsy Sen. Ted Kennedy.  Come summer, Valerie made the trek north where she lived aboard her fabulous private yacht – the “Miss Daisy” - on beautiful Lake Simcoe.  During the summer months Valerie would entertain her children and grand-children (Mathew, Ava, Jake) with lavish dinners served on tables covered with only the finest Egyptian linens and adorned with colorful fresh flowers, ornate candelabras and hand-painted bone china replete with solid 18K gold cutlery.


Though well into her seventies, Valerie continued to enjoy skating, skiing and equestrian events atop of “Melvin” her handsome white thoroughbred and champion show jumper.  Ever the standard of grace and beauty, Valerie was always the centre of attention and ‘belle of the ball’ whether attending polo matches, chatting over champagne with singer Tony Bennett, or busy giving John F. Kennedy Jr. marital advice.  A stalwart patron of the arts and a permanent fixture on the Champs Elysee and Worth Avenue, Valerie always cut a chic figure most often adorned in the latest designer fashions complimented by her trade-mark Coco Chanel ‘sunners’ and pearl necklace.


From the palaces of the middle east, to the sun-drenched shores of the Amalfi Coast, to the skyscrapers of Manhattan, Valerie’s life story is chock full of exotic travels, sizzling romances and enough mad-cap misadventures to fill volumes.  Valerie’s zest for life and undaunted spirit of adventure have created a lasting legacy for her children and grand-children who follow.  Though now gone to the great Harrod’s department store in the sky (where she will no doubt demand to speak to the manager), Valerie taught us the importance of taking chances and to follow our own hearts wherever that may lead us.  Indomitable, imperious, high-handed and bold to the point of recklessness, mom loved her children and grandchildren deeply and set the standard in both word and deed for living life fearlessly.


Dance on, Miss Daisy, dance on…


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