Mitch Valerien

  • Born: February 1, 1966
  • Died: March 15, 2018
  • Location: Grafton, New York

Tribute & Message From The Family

It is with great sadness that the family of Mitch Valerien, 52, announces her passing following a brief illness, on Thursday, March 15, 2018, in Troy, New York.

A native of Rhode Island, and longtime employee of MetLife Insurance, she is predeceased by her father, Paul R. Valerien and survived by her mother and stepfather, Diane and Russell Harris of Lakeland, Florida; and her sister and brother-in-law, Laurie and Steven Whitman, of Coventry, RI, as well as two nieces and a nephew.

Throughout her life, she had a passion for animals, volunteering to care for those left homeless after Hurricane Katrina and co-founding The Animal Support Project, which continues to help countless families and their pets in New York. Over the years, she fostered and adopted countless numbers of dogs, including the eight she leaves behind.

Her other great love was football--especially the Patriots! One of the greatest moments in her life was the opportunity to stand on the field at Gillette Stadium and try on some authentic Super Bowl rings. Even after moving to New York, Mitch continued to display her die-hard loyalty for the Patriots with her highly visible PatsFan2 license plate.

A memorial service in Mitch's honor is currently being planned.

Condolence & Memory Journal

Thinking of you my friend in heaven! I miss you Mitch! I think of you often in so many ways, a football games, you went to the 40th super bowl game on your 40th birthday! Our trip to California for a day LOL! Every Dog or cat needing a home! You were such a kind heart and left footprints on so many hearts!

Posted by Christine Carpenter - Coventry, RI - Friend   March 14, 2021

I just found out about Mitch (Michelle) passing away. I am sooo sorry! Diane, I so greatly miss you, will never forget you and your beautiful family. Love and greatly miss you,
Audrey McIntyre

Posted by Audrey McIntyre - Hartford, CT   May 20, 2019


Wow a year has gone by since Mitch passed and I can still remember our first day at MetLife in April of 1991. As many of us sat there that day of course I didn't know anyone, but Mitch and I were amongst some others in a class to learn the systems used. This is where I got to know her and then we ended up in the same dept..
Mitch was one of the most giving and nice people I have known. I'll never forget her and think about her quite often. I have a card on my desk at work like the picture above.
She gave it all to many people and oh my animals were her thing!! I still have a picture I've framed of two lions that she took a picture of at the Washington zoo. I was so appreciative of her having it blown up so it was a little larger. I'll never forget ya Mitch and may you always rest in peace.

Posted by Beverly Ortoleva - Coventry, RI - Friend   March 16, 2019

P. Diane, Family and Friends - I am so shocked and saddened as I just saw that Mich has gone Home. I only met her twice but felt her beautiful heart through her warm kind smile and voice. My heart breaks for all of you and all who were blessed to know and love her. God has placed her on my heart for the last couple of months and now I know why. Please accept my sincere condolences. If you have a service in RI, please let me know. If there is anything I can do P. Diane, please let me know. God carried me for years and brought me through the deep waters as I know your faith in Him will get you through also.

Love Sue

Posted by Sue S - RI   May 25, 2018

To Mitch's Family & Friends -

I met Mitch through the Animal Support at Benson's in Pittsfield, MA.. Mitch always had the greatest smile and full of cheerfulness. I just went on the Animal Support Facebook to see when they were coming to Pittsfield again. I was shocked when I read of her passing and I just sat at my desk and cried. My sympathy to all!!

Posted by Sally Dean - Pittsfield, MA   May 01, 2018


Please accept my sympathy for the loss of your daughter. Natalie has been keeping me up to date with you and she told me of the passing of Mitch.

I know your faith will provide you strength at this most difficult time. We will always remember your friendship and prayers for Sharon during her illness.

Please take care of yourself.


Posted by Bernard Jackvony - East Greenwich, RI - Friend   April 09, 2018

I miss you Mitch. I am glad that we were able to see our favorite movie "The Greatest Showman" and share fries one last time. I know you're over the Rainbow Bridge with all the animals you helped over the years. I will never forget you and your smile. It's not goodbye, but toodles.

Posted by Deb Lilley - Pittstown, NY   April 05, 2018

My thoughts and prayers are with your family. I worked with Mitch at MetLife. She was a bright light and full of positive energy. Her kind soul and infectious smile will be missed.

Posted by Nick Elliott - Coworker   March 29, 2018

Mitch & I were friends while in high school through CYO. Rest in peace, and may the angels lead you into paradise.

Posted by Mark Brown - Boston, MA   March 25, 2018

This brought me more comfort than any words I could enter here, dear Mitch~

Every blade in the field,
Every leaf in the forest,
Lays down its life in its season
As beautifully as it was taken up.
Henry David Thoreau

Posted by Sue Pollock - Troy, NY - friend   March 23, 2018

My thought's and Prayer's are with your family at this time. I knew Mitch from our CYO day's. She was a Great Friend to All. May her memories be a comfort to all who Loved her in the day's,ahead.

Posted by Brenda Lancellotta-MacKenzie - Cranston, RI - Friend   March 23, 2018

Mitch you will be missed by so many people you have touched over the years. You are a beautiful sole. You were always positive and had a heart of gold. You had great taste in football and music. Rest well my friend.

Posted by Kristen De Souza - North Kingstown, RI   March 22, 2018

I knew Mitch for many years working together at MetLIfe and so sad to hear of her passing. Mitch always had a smile and always seemed to be in a upbeat mood. I knew Mitch when she was a Dallas Cowboy fan, as I am, and had many nice talks about the "boys. She actually gave a me a Super Bowl program that the Cowboys were in and she attended. That was how generous Mitch was. Of course, she later became a traitor and started to root for the Patriots but I forgave her (but always reminded her of her Cowboy days) Mitch,RIP.

Alan Frio

Posted by Alan Frio - West Warwick, RI - Coworker   March 22, 2018

I met Mitch after Hurricane Katrina, when many of us "alumni" were working for more animal-friendly laws and policies, and setting up animal response teams in our home counties and states. Mitch and I hit it off right away - but she did that with everyone! She possessed a deep warmth and compassion, a genuine selflessness and positivity, and an unfailing commitment to helping animals in need (and their humans too, lots of times!). She loved to laugh, and we often bickered about the Patriots and Seahawks. We worked together on some animal rescue efforts through the years. She did fantastic work for TASP in upstate New York. We both volunteered at the ASPCA shelter in Brooklyn after Hurricane Sandy, where many hundreds of animals were being sheltered and given medical care. Mitch had a particularly difficult assignment there that left her exhausted and drained every day. But she never flagged, always found a reason to smile. She even volunteered to work there over Christmas! That's the kind of amazing person she was. We kept in touch after I moved to Seattle, and I got to see her a couple of times before she fell ill. I will miss her terribly.

Posted by Susann Thiel - Seattle, WA - friend   March 21, 2018


I began at MetLife with Mitch and oh gosh we had so much fun in the training that we had for like an overall one for systems. We also ended up in the same department and eventually she was my supervisor for a while! She was one of the nicest people I ever met and her love for animals was just something else. When she went down to LA after the hurricane I was in touch with her. She was a real trooper how much she did for animals and how much she loved them! When Mitch decided to move to NY oh boy I was a bit beside myself. Never thought I'd see her again, but I did due to she came back to the facility in Warwick for work reasons. When she did she always made time to visit people.
I'll miss her dearly and will always remember her and love her. May you rip Mitch!!

Posted by Bev Ortoleva - West Warwck, RI - Coworker   March 21, 2018

I am heartbroken to hear of Mitch's passing. I got to know her through all her wonderful friends at The Animal Support Project. From the short time I had spent with her, it was evident she was "true blue" and a special soul. Here time here on Earth was short, but oh so meaningful. I hope you are surrounded in a field full of furry friends.... Hugs to you Mitch... Fly High!

Posted by Clara Quinlan Duncan - Troy, NY - Friend   March 20, 2018

Laurie and family, I am so deeply saddened at the monumental loss of your sister, Mitch. May God Bless Her Soul for all eternity and somehow comfort the gaping hole in your hearts. I am praying for you all and am so truly sorry.

Posted by Therese Picard - Warwick, RI - Friend   March 20, 2018

You became Saint Mitch to me at MetLife sometime in the mid 90s after bailing me out of dozens of IT problems in the training room. Later, you proved you were a Saint to hundreds of pets that suffered after hurricane Katrina. You were a good friend at work always smiling and upbeat. You moved to upstate NY at about the same time I moved to NH. We talked about getting together I wish we had. You are loved and will be missed. I will not allow your memory to fade.

Posted by Brian Gately - Center Barnstead, NH - Friend   March 19, 2018

I am so sorry for your loss. Mitch had a heart of gold and was a great friend to many. She will be missed.

Posted by Mickey LeVasseur - Richmond, RI - Friend   March 19, 2018

You are now in Heaven with God and the Animals you loved. Love you.

Posted by Denise Langlais - North Scituate, RI - Friend   March 19, 2018

We are so sorry to hear of Mitch passing away! She was a great friend and a kind person!

Posted by Debbie & Nitin Trivedi - RI - Friend   March 19, 2018

To the Valerie's family. Mich was a great person. She always gave all she had to help others.I enjoyed our time together at CYO. She will be missed. RIP Mitch

Posted by Patricia Enos - Coventry, RI - Friend   March 18, 2018

Susan and I were deeply saddened today to learn of Mitch's passing, though it has been many years since we last saw each other. Our sincerest condolences to sister Laurie, Mom, and all those who knew and loved her. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

Posted by Scott Furtado - West Warwick, RI - Classmate   March 18, 2018

Mitch was in the first class I taught dividends to at MetLife back in 88 or 89. We had such a great time and my memories of her are that she was a wonderful person. She will be greatly missed. My sincerest sympathy go out to her family.

Posted by Carol Nelson - Warwick, RI - Friend   March 18, 2018


My beloved Namaste and I met Mitch ay photo fantasy and other fund raisers for the Animal Support Project. We always looked forward to seeing her. She was always so welcoming and showed such love for Namaste. Mitch and all the others became family . I was so sad to hear about her illness and passing. She was loved by many and will be so missed. I am certain that Namaste is keeping Mitch company in Heaven.

My sincere condolences to her family and friends. Such a beautiful soul will always be remembered.❤

Posted by Cynthia Mott - Schenectady, NY - Friend   March 18, 2018

Our hearts are with you. We will miss Mitch so much. Her friendship meant so much to us and we were so blessed to have known her and worked Along side of her to help others.

Posted by Laurie and John Malm - Valley falls, NY - Friend   March 18, 2018

I ve never met Mitch, but, I am forever greatfull to her & Animal Support Progect for saving & giving us the privilege of taking care of the most awful dog we ve ever met-Lady Gaga!
It's a very very sad day when special people like Mitch leave this world
We are very sorry
Renata Dusseault

Posted by Renata Dusseault    March 18, 2018

My condolences to Mitch's family, may she rest in peace.

Posted by Patty OBrien - Friend   March 18, 2018

I was a foster mom with the Animal Support Project. I met Mitchie through them. She was a beautiful and carrying person. She will be so missed by us all. God bless her.

With deepest sympathy,
Sharon Messersmith

Posted by Sharon Messersmith - Hoosick Falls, NY - Acquaintance   March 18, 2018

I am sooo sad to hear about Mitch's passing! My Son, Jason and I first met her when we called to see about help for a surgery my Son's dog; Logan needed and we could not afford. It was Mitch who stood by our side throughout the procedures that followed, always giving her support and wisdom to help us thru that scary time. Logan survived it all and went on to live for a few more years when he finally passed away at the age of 14+!!!! Even after his ordeal it was Mitch who made sure we had the finest dog food for him so he could get strong again and back on his feet. She LOVED animals, she was kind, generous and loving to all she met and we will miss her dearly. Rest in peace my friend.

Posted by Diane Chartrand - Wynantskill, NY - Family Friend   March 18, 2018

Mitch's mom has been like a mother to me so I have known Mitch many years. She was a kind and generous soul who would help anyone. There were a few times she came to my rescue. I had hoped she would have moved to Florida with us all. But her spirit and love will be with us and remembered for a lifetime. Our hearts are broken and selfishly I want her back but I know she is with Jesus now in heaven. Her life will continue on with God. I love you Mitch and we will see each other again in heaven.

Posted by Sherry Hernandez - Lakeland, FL - Family Friend   March 18, 2018

Such a sad day for her many many friends. One if the best people I'm priviledged to have known. She has the biggest heart. My condolences to her family .

Posted by Angela Timmann - West Warwick, RI - Friend   March 18, 2018

Sending my condolences to Mitch's family and friends. Mitch was much beloved by all who knew her and will be missed by all.

Posted by Lynn Conway - Exeter, RI - Coworker   March 18, 2018

Oh my Nancy... SoOOOO sad and
sorry to hear about your cousin...NO WORDS ONLY HEARTFELT HUGS ♥ and my condolences during this time...My thoughts and prayers are with you ALL ♥

Posted by Cheryl Sylvia-Kirwin - Coventry, RI - Friend   March 18, 2018

I remember Mitch always had a smile. Even as a child she loved animals and at one time wanted to be a veterinarian. Worked for one when she was in high school and went to Florida one year to work on a horse farm. As her Aunt can honestly say she was a great person with a heart of gold. You will be greatly missed by many.
Mitch. My sympathy goes out to the family.Such a great loss.

Posted by Pauline Cottle Cottle - Salisbury, NC   March 17, 2018

Dear Diane sending heartfelt prayers to you and all her loved ones. May God comfort you in this time of sorrow.

Posted by Michele LaMountain - Aurora, CO - Friend   March 17, 2018

My deepest sympathy to The family. I worked with Mitch..for many years at Met Life. v

Posted by Francine Colardo - West Warwick, RI - Coworker   March 17, 2018