In Loving

Valerie Leigh Downing

June 22, 1967 – February 19, 2024

Valerie Leigh Downing, 56, passed away peacefully in her home in Richmond, Virginia on February 19, 2024. She was a beloved wife, mother, sister, aunt, and friend.

Born on June 22, 1967, in Pensacola, Florida, Valerie always loved spending time in the water and at the beach. She also had a deep love of art and music. For many years, she had a career in telecommunications, and spent the last several years working in business development for The Farley Center in Williamsburg, Virginia.

Valerie dedicated more than half of her life to helping others in recovery. Her blazing presence, devotion to service, and gift for carrying a message of depth and weight impacted countless individuals. She left a lasting legacy in the recovery community, near and far.

She is survived by her husband, Christopher Poels; two sons, Nicholas Olson and Beckett Downing; mother and stepfather, Donna and Gregory Engel; three brothers, Donald Ozburn and his wife, Connie, Timothy Engel and his wife, Kelly, and Eric Ozburn; one sister, Joanna Ozburn; two uncles, Michael Ward and his wife, Gina, and Daniel Ward. She is also survived by four nieces, Jadah and Vanessa Ozburn, Samantha and Alexandra Engel; one nephew, Barrett Engel; her mother-in-law Dana Parks Gray, and sister-in-law, Catherine Washington and her husband, Tony. She is preceded in death by her father, Donald Ozburn.

Valerie leaves behind a legacy of fierce love, service, strength, generosity, and wit. There is simply no one like her. She is forever alive in the hearts of those who love her.

A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, February 24, 2024, at Bon Air Presbyterian Church, 9201 W Huguenot Rd, Richmond, VA 23235. A reception will follow.

Those who wish to attend the service via Zoom may use this link:

To dial in and listen by phone, call this number: 1 301 715 8592 and enter this Meeting ID and Password when asked: Meeting ID: 815 9704 2954 ; Password: 780106

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Valerie’s GoFundMe, where all proceeds will go into a college savings account for her young son, Beck. Link: