Valgerd (Val) Thornton, housewife, teacher and businesswoman, amateur artist, musician and thespian, of Hanover and Oak Bluffs, died peacefully on Nov. 16.

Born to recently immigrated Norwegian parents on Sept. 8, 1928, the youngest of six children, Val grew up in the close quarters of a cozy Squantum (Quincy) house. Her first name, Valgerd, loosely translated from the Norwegian, means “guardian of the home,” a responsibility that she lived up to all her life.

During the Depression and World War II years, Thornton family members were patriotic new Americans. Val’s father was a senior engineer on the Manhattan project, her mother a “Rosie the Riveter” at the Hingham Shipyard, her brothers soldiers in war, while teenage Val and her sister performed in a U.S.O. dance troupe.

Val graduated from high school at Derby Academy in Hingham. In 1947, she married decorated Army Air Force veteran Stanley Butterfield (Butts) Arend, Jr. They bought a historic home in Hanover (built in 1716) that was her pride and joy and is still in the family. They had two children, Stanley 3rd in 1951 and V. Thorne in 1952.

In 1959, Val and Butts bought a Victorian summer house on Martha’s Vineyard across from the Oak Bluffs town beach, known to locals as the Pay Beach because it required an entrance fee. This home became a focus of Val’s life. Lifelong relationships between summer and year-round Vineyard families were forged at this beach. Val allowed her children’s friends to come over to the house to play board games, ping pong, music and other activities. She dubbed the group, the Pay Beach gang.

In Hanover, Val was a teacher’s aide for Hanover public schools in the special needs program from 1960 through 1980. She was a member of two theatre companies — the South Shore Theatre in Weymouth and the Hingham Civic Chorus. She starred as the female lead in several dramatic productions to excellent reviews. She also took oil painting lessons and played the piano proficiently.

In 1982, Val converted the Vineyard house to a seasonal bed and breakfast, operating Samoset-on-the-Sound for over 30 years with various family members pitching in. She was beloved of the guests, some of whom visited for decades and whose children grew up and brought their own children to the house. The guests admired Val’s strength, eccentricities and caring nature.

Val liked martinis in moderation, the occasional off-color joke and everything about dogs. Most of all, she enjoyed offering sage counsel to whomever asked for her help. She also was generous, often lending money to family and grown-up Pay Beach kids, sometimes not following up on repayment. She was affectionately called The Bank O’ Val.

After retiring from the B&B in 2013, Val had more time to spend with her grandchildren, Jonathan and Victoria, who adored their grandmother. She also enjoyed doing jigsaw puzzles, watching TV golf, feeding peanuts to Lollipop, her parrot who meows like a cat, and visiting with her step-grandchildren and step-great-grandchildren.

She is survived by her sister Elsie Fiore, son Stanley B. Arend 3rd and daughter V. Thorne Arend; daughter in law, Mary Faith; grandson, Jonathan W. Arend and his wife, Claire Allen; granddaughter, Victoria L. Arend; step-grandchild Fiona Greene; step-grandchild Roisin Greene, her husband Brien Langill and their daughters Maeve and Aislin.

She was predeceased by her husband, Stanley B. Arend, Jr.; father and mother, Jens and Ingeborg Thornton; brothers Inge, Gunnar, Jens, Leif and baby Carl Thornton.

A funeral service was held at the First Congregational Church in Hanover on Tuesday, Nov. 21.

Interment followed in the Hanover Center Cemetery.

Arrangements are under the care of Sullivan Funeral Homes in Hanover.

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