Valleri Bellini (1928-2018)
Valleri Green Bellini, passed on August 6th, 2018 at the home of her daughter Lynette Bellini.
USATT & the US Table Tennis Hall of Fame would like to share our heartfelt condolences to the Bellini family and friend on Valleri's passing.
Please read Tim Boggan's Hall of Fame Profile on Valleri Bellini.
Daughter Lynette was kind enough to provide some additional insight into how Valleri kept herself active after her amazing table tennis career.
Valleri went down to defeat in the 1965 US Nationals. Unbeknownst to her, she was pregnant with her daughter, Lynette, born in November. The next several years were devoted to raising Lynette. In 1971, Valleri and Ralph went to beginner's square dance lessons, and Valleri was hooked.
Much like table tennis, there are different "levels" of square dancing, and Valleri quickly moved from beginner to pro. She spent the next several decades of her life perfecting her abilities as a square dancer. She taught classes, up to 9 a week at one point, and traveled the country much as she did for table tennis, attending square dance weekends. Valleri had the respect of every high level square dancer in the world (no ranking system like table tennis, but she was one of the top dancers). Valleri danced until nearly 80 years of age, and celebrated her 80th birthday with many square dancers and other friends in a surprise party she said was one of the highlights of her life.
Valleri also rekindled her interest in Spanish after stumbling across a telenovela (soap opera) on television. She created lists of words, and studied them assiduously. She watched multiple telenovelas, and followed news of the stars. She befriended anyone who would speak Spanish with her, and native speakers said she had the accent of a native and could not believe she had not spoken Spanish since childhood.
She was also very interested in American television, and was a member of Viewers for Quality Television, providing feedback to networks on new shows. This hobby became more important as she was diagnosed with a lung disease that prevented her from much physical activity. She had as many as 5 VCRs recording shows simultaneously, and provided careful reviews back to VQT.
Ralph was the love of her life, and they were married for 49 years, until his passing in October 2013 just months before their 50th anniversary. Valleri lived alone in their home for the next several years. She died peacefully at the home of her daughter, in Illinois.