Jan Vala, co-founder of the much-loved Vala’s Pumpkin Patch, died Friday.
The matriarch of the Vala family had a heart attack in late August and passed away peacefully Friday night, her family said Saturday in a Facebook post.
“Jan was the heart of our family; the very best daughter, wife, mother and grandmother. She was unfailingly kind and so well-loved by everyone who knew her,” her family wrote.
The family also asked that “all who had a connection with Jan join in saying goodbye this week.”
A visitation is planned for 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesday at Roeder Mortuary in Gretna. A celebration of life will be held 11 a.m. Thursday at the Pumpkin Patch.
In honor of Vala’s passion for reading, the family requests that donations be made to the Gretna Library Foundation in her honor.
Her death comes as Vala’s Pumpkin Patch and Apple Orchard enters its 37th year of operation.
The seasonal attraction was founded by Tim and Jan Vala as a small business with the goal of creating a family-friendly farm experience. Thousands of visitors now consider a trip to Vala’s an annual tradition.