Valerie Lundeen Ely, the 62-year-old wife of classic TV star Ron Ely, was found dead in the couple’s Hope Ranch home in Southern California earlier this week after reportedly being stabbed by her 30-year-old son, Cameron. The tragedy has left fans of the 81-year-old actor, best known for his role in the 1960s television series Tarzan, in shock.
Who was Valerie Lundeen, the woman Ron Ely was married to for more than 35 years?
She Was A Pageant Queen
Lundeen went to school at Stetson University in DeLand, Florida, where she was awarded the “Miss Green Feather” title in 1976 in honor of her charity work. After college, she worked as a flight attendant and was named Miss Airlines International in 1980 after winning the beauty pageant for airline employees, according to Closer Weekly.
In 1981, Lundeen was crowned Miss Florida, USA and later competed to be Miss USA. Her future husband Ron, whom she married in 1984, also has a pageant background, as he hosted the 1980 and 1981 Miss America pageants as a replacement for longtime host Bert Parks.
She Was A Mother Of Three
After marrying Ely in 1984, Lundeen gave birth to two daughters, Kirsten and Kaitland, and a son, Cameron. Kirsten has a large following on Instagram with over 25,000 followers. The family appears to be extremely close based on photos posted to both of Lundeen’s daughters’ social media feeds.
In a 2012 interview with Fanboy Planet, Ely said all of his kids moved back home after going to school.
“My oldest daughter’s a lawyer, 26,” he said at the time.
“We made an apartment for her out of two rooms, combined it and put it all together at one end of the house. My other daughter is at the guest house. Cameron’s upstairs taking two rooms. It’s great in the morning. We see each other. We see each other in the evening, we see each other when they come and go. We’re always in touch. We’re making sure that they know they’re welcome at that house as long as they want to be there. We’d be honored.”
Lundeen later posed with her family for her daughter Kaitland’s wedding in 2016.
She Was A Doting Grandmother
Lundeen was a new grandmother shortly before her death. Her daughter Kaitland is a mom to a little boy, Jaxon, who was born in 2018. The proud grandmother can be seen on social media playing with her sweet grandson as he takes his first steps. The video will forever be a precious one for the family.
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The day after his first birthday he took his FIRST steps! I was lucky enough to capture them!!! So proud of my little man!!! #firststeps #one #babyboy #babyboycanwalk #omg #toocute #purejoy #love #happy #proud #thishappened #moments #surprise #priceless #babymodel #heisfast #cantkeepup #lovehim #cutie #jaxonpiercesweet
Ron Ely and his daughters have not issued a public statement regarding the tragic deaths of Valerie Lundeen and Cameron Ely.