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Bookshop Founder Mourned

February 18, 2005

RETIRED teacher andbookstore owner Valerie Evanspassed away Monday followingan embolism of her lungs due tocomplications after a surgery atCima Hospital in Escazú, westof San José. She was 67.Her unexpected death shockedand saddened family membersand friends who gathered Tuesdayevening to celebrate Valerie’slife. She was cremated Tuesdaymorning.Born in 1937 in Manchester,England, Valerie graduated fromthe University of Hull in 1958 andmoved to Canada to marry hergeologist husband Geoff. There,she earned a teaching certificate atthe University of Toronto. Thecouple later spent time in Boliviaand then Malaysia, before movingto Costa Rica in 1969.VALERIE became a well-known andwell-loved pillar of the community here,setting up the first English-language bookstore,“The Bookshop,” in San José in1972. According to her husband, she had awonderful knack for remembering whatpeople had read and which books theywould enjoy. Valerie felt the need for abookstore after her own children ran out ofEnglish-language books to read. The shopopened with just a few hundred books andgrew to contain 35,000 books by the timeshe sold the business in 1979.Valerie and her husband left to spenda few years in Mexico and then returnedto Costa Rica, where Valerie worked as anEnglish teacher, first at the Costa RicaAcademy and then the Country DaySchool in Escazú, where she remained formore than 10 years. English was her passionand students described her as anexcellent and motivational teacher.ACCORDING to friends, Valerie wasa keen writer who had been writing a novelfor the past two years, following her retirement.She also was remembered as a wonderfulactress and comedian, and spentmany years with The Little Theatre Group.Valerie was a much-loved grandmotherand mother of five: Geoff, Sally, AnnaMarie, Chris and Jenny, three of whom livein Canada and two in England.Those who knew her say Valerie wasa truly wonderful woman, with a greatsense of humor, a wonderful wit andsharp mind, and will be dearly missed.

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