Family preserves a man’s legacy through bird houses

Samantha Hill

The legacy of Dr. Jerome “Jerry” LaValley, who died a few short months ago, will live on as his family continues the work on his iconic bird houses.

LaValley, a well-known dentist in the area and a longtime birdhouse builder, was commissioned to create many birdhouses for Livingston HealthCare along a trail surrounding the complex.

Unfortunately, he died in October before completing the task.

“Nobody quite makes them like my father does,” said Jerry’s daughter Holly LaValley.

LaValley said that although it seems that her father’s birdhouses are one of a kind, she and the rest of her family decided to pick up where he left off by making the houses themselves.

She said there were some birdhouses he had already started, but they will continue them.

However, LaValley said it would be difficult to make as many as he had hoped to complete.

Another way the family plans to continue his legacy is to build a bench near the hospital. LaValley said her father’s favorite things will be represented on the bench, like fly-fishing, an artistic tooth to represent his time as a dentist and, of course, a birdhouse.

LaValley said the project is expected to cost about $1,200 for the bench and another $300 for the concrete to secure it.

Clark Smith, who made a memorial bridge for his wife, will help make the bench.

In July, there will be a dedication of the bench, which is adjacent from the from the window to the hopsital’s cancer ward.

LaValley said she is happy to see her father getting this recognition because he was well-liked within the community.

“He really was such a giving person,” she said.

The JP LaValley Memorial fund is set up at Livingston HealthCare. To give to the fund, call 222-3541.