Florence Ione Bilderback, 87, of Hayward passed away on Wednesday, Dec. 1, 2021, due to natural causes.
Florence was born on April 11, 1934, the youngest of five children born to Arthur and Ruth Vallem. She grew up on the family farm located where Walmart sits today. As a child, Flo earned money picking green beans and digging and selling worms to fishermen. She attended Wheeler School, participated in 4H and did beekeeping with her mother. In high school, Flo played the trombone, sang in the choir, was a cheerleader, was involved in homecomings and proms and worked at the Hayward Dairy Company.
After graduating from Hayward High School in 1952, Flo headed to California, working 30 years in Los Angeles for Pacific Telephone and Telegraph Company (known today as AT&T) in middle management at their training center. While there she met and married James F. Bilderback. She retired in 1983.
After retirement in California, Flo and Jim moved to Hayward (1983-1994), where they owned and operated Hayward Lock & Key. Not being fans of the cold, northern Wisconsin weather, they moved to Nevada and spent 22 years enjoying milder temperatures, the casinos and spending time outdoors. One year Flo walked a total of 660 miles. Flo and Jim were married 44 years until his death in 2013. When her brother Arvid was diagnosed with cancer in 2016, she moved back to Hayward to be with him.
Flo was a member of First Lutheran Church, the Daughters of Norway and the Hayward Lioness Club. She enjoyed monthly lunches with her high school classmates, attending the annual Scandinavian Dinner at church, keeping track of the political scene on TV daily, and enjoying local Friday night fish fries. She was proud of her Norwegian heritage and collected many Bunad statues from Norway.
Flo recently resided at Aspen Acres, for one month, after a fall that broke her leg. Special thanks to all the people who cared for her there.
Preceding Florence in death were her parents; her husband, Jim; siblings and their spouses, Arvid and Elaine Vallem, Raymond and Edith Vallem, Stuart and Naomi Vallem and Melvin (Bertha) Swan.
She is survived by her sister, Bertha Swan; nieces and nephews, Robert, Jim, Connie and Cory, Elaine, Paul, Irene and Judy, Brad and Doug, Dale and DuWayne, and their families; stepchildren, Lauri, Terri and George; and many friends from her Queen Maude group and St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Carson City, Nevada.
Flo’s family would like to thank friends Steve and Catherine, Al and Gloria, Julie and Jeanette for their help and care over the past years. Special thanks to the Essentia Health and Hayward Area Memorial Hospital professionals and Mike Bratley and staff at the Hayward Funeral Home for their kindnesses during a difficult time.
Per Flo’s wishes, no services will be held. A Celebration of Life dessert and drink bar will be held on Sunday, Jan. 23, 2022, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Hayward Veteran’s Center on Main Street. If desired, memorials in Flo’s name can be given to First Lutheran Church of Hayward.
Flo’s ashes will be laid to rest next to her husband, Jim, and her parents, Arthur and Ruth Vallem, at the Greenwood Cemetery in Hayward.
Flo will be remembered for her bright blue eyes, beautiful silver hair, big smile, pink lipstick and saying Tusen Takk (thousand thanks). She lived a long and happy life, and will be dearly missed by those who crossed her path during her lifetime. Please join us at the Veteran’s Center to celebrate and remember her.
Online condolences may be shared with Florence’s family at www.bratley-nelsonchapels.com.