The wrestling industry just learned of beloved longtime CAC attendee Valerie Boesch’s death yesterday. Sadly, she passed back on March 23rd.
Since her legendary Houston promoter/wrestler/announcer husband Paul’s death in 1989, Valerie had devoted her life to taking care of their son Joey. Val and Paul were already semi-regular CAC presences in the mid 80’s when our reunions were just luncheons in downtown L.A. at the Old Spaghetti Factory and other spots before the full-time move to the Sportsman's Lodge for single evening awards banquets.
Val and Paul's son Joey was born blind and partially deaf, needing their constant care. But he was also a music prodigy or “savant.” He could listen to a complex song just once(one of his first was Flight of the Bumblebee” Val told me)and then play(as well as sing if there was lyrics)it perfectly note for note. After Paul's death, Valerie continued bringing Joey each year to CAC both in Los Angeles, and then when we moved things to Vegas in 2000. Val was never formally on our board, but when I was on the board in the 90’s, she attended several board meetings and spoke up when she herself felt passionate about certain issues. Starting in 1991, Joey began playing piano on our stage before our CAC award nights began and during breaks and intermissions playing classical music, show and popular tunes. When he had a documentary and album released in 1999, Val helped him even more on stage by holding the mike while he sang standards, covers and his own compositions.
Valerie Boesch was often given the same kind of industry respect as female promoters like Ann Gunkel and ‘Miss Christine’ Jarrett, total legends. Always dressed to the nines(especially her famous “Dynasty and Dallas sequined ball gowns just for our CAC awards banquets” as she called them), but completely down to Earth. She carried on donating her time as well to Paul’s many charities like The Boys Clubs of Houston and Texas State besides her own new found ones, saying "I'm never afraid to get my hands dirty.” She’d also volunteered helping build Habitat For Humanity homes for the homeless for example near where she lived.
In 1994, Val even managed for the first time(a heel at that) Moolah and Johnnie Mae Young at the Ladies International Wrestling Association annual function, which was CAC-affiliated. Val got a standing ovation and even interfered, handing “international, foreign” objects to both. Joey just grinned at the piano in the back of the ballroom, having been told what his mom was “up to.”
Valerie will always be remembered for her kind, helping ways at every CAC meeting she attended. Any CAC task she was asked to help out with, from helping with sign-ins, etc; she hit head-on with her famous smile. "After Paul died, wrestling was still my world but I will firstly always be Joey’s protector and caretaker. It’s my number one job in life and I’m privileged to be doing it,” Val said. Many of us who’d known she and Paul, now worry what will happen to Joey and how he’s handling this devastating loss to us all.