Retta Jean Rippey Valerio
1923 - 1996
Retta Jane Valerio, a native of Portland, Oregon, was an accomplished organist who was described by one writer as "not only a brilliant performer" but "one who possessed a charming and gracious personality." She was the organist at the first Faith for Today telecast.
Retta was born in Loma Linda, California, and grew up in Portland, Oregon, the oldest of three children and only daughter of Edward E. and Margaret Holden Rippey, an organist and former music teacher at Walla Walla College, now Walla Walla University. She graduated from WWC in 1946, subsequently received an M.S. in organ from The Juilliard School, and became an associate in the American Guild of Organists. She studied organ with John Stark, David McKay Williams, E. Power Biggs, and Claire Coci.
Rippey married Raphael Valerio, pianist and composer, in 1948. Both were active musicians in the Washington Avenue Seventh-day Adventist church in Brooklyn, New York. Valerio assisted on organ in the 1950s with an evangelistic series conducted by William Fagal in Brooklyn and then served as organist in the first programs of Faith for Today, a television series hosted by Fagal.
She was living in Indianapolis, Indiana, at the time of her death at age 73.
Sources: Obituary, Summer 1997, Walla Walla College (University) Westwind; “Organist Retta Jean Valerio to Be Presented by A Tempo,”WWC newspaper, Collegian, 11 May 1950; 1930 and 1940 U.S. Census Records and Social Security Death Index, ancestory.com;