Gloria Palermo Valente
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Gloria Palermo Valente, of Middletown, passed away Monday, Oct. 28, 2013, at Meridian Nursing and Health Care, Shrewsbury. Born July 20, 1925 in Queens, NY to Ralph and Marie Louise Palermo, Gloria lived most of her life in Fair Lawn, Glen Rock, Middletown and Harvey Cedars, NJ.
Gloria graduated from Queens College, Flushing, NY in 1947, with a major in Art and a minor in English. Discovering a love for working with children, she returned to college and graduated from Brockport Teacher's College, State University of New York in 1948 graduating "Cum Laude" with a Major in Elementary Education. She was president of her sorority "Lamda Gamma Mu". Gloria went on to teach from 1958-1967 in Glen Rock and Fair Lawn, NJ. From 1967-1980, she was an Elementary school teacher at Nutswamp School in Middletown, organizing the "Picture Lady Program" introducing students to famous art and artists.
As a professional artist, Gloria was taught by renowned artist Helen Van Wyk, a Dutch Artist trained in the European progressive style taking evening classes. Gloria was a charter member of the Ridgewood School of Art. She was president of the Fair Lawn Art Association and a member of the American Artist Professional League. She won several awards throughout the years for her outstanding paintings. Gloria organized the first Bergen County Mall art show, and won awards at Rutgers University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Lever House, Prentice Hall Grand National and Ridgewood Art Barn: all juried shows. Gloria was a member of the Suburban Woman's Club of Glen Rock. She also held the post of Chairperson of the Art Department in Glen Rock. Also a talented writer, Gloria won a primary activity contest sponsored by Ginn and Company in 1961 writing in 25 words or less "Why I like the A&P." The Grand prize was a Fiat 500 automobile.
To say Gloria was an extraordinary talent is an understatement. Her creative ability was unsurpassed. Aside from her talented art and teaching career, in her retirement Gloria excelled at Quilting, creating over 20 quilts for her children and grandchildren despite the onset of Parkinson's Disease at age 58. Her many other talents included Needlepoint, Sewing, Knitting, Macrame, Doll-making, and Beading. She excelled in all of her endeavors.
Gloria was a resident of Sunrise Assisted Living from 2003-2013. There she was an ardent organizer of activities and an advocate of developing strong vocabulary to keep the residents alert and involved. She taught numerous residents cryptograms, played bridge, word search, and enjoyed crossword puzzles. She was resident orgnaizer of the activities group in 2005 enlisting the help of Monmouth University to schedule guest speakers and activities for the residents. At the age of 80, Gloria resumed her painting career at Sunrise and donated over 50 paintings to the residents and management. At Sunrise, she was also voted "Queen of the Red Hat Society."
Gloria was the Matriarch of her family and its strength and foundation. She was a positive and inspiring influence to all who were blessed to know her in her life.
Gloria was predeceased by her parents, Ralph and Marie-Louise Palermo; her husband, John J. Valente in 2003; a sister and her husband, Tulia and Mario Merola, Bronx, NY; and a brother, Ralph Palermo of Long Island, NY. She is survived by a son, Vance A. Valente and his wife Margaret of Middletown; a daughter, Vanessa Sullivan of Monmouth Beach; four grandchildren, Vanessa Stevens and husband Roderick of Brick, Vance M. Valente of Middletown, Amanda Behnke and husband Paul of San Diego, CA, and Gina Sullivan of Hoboken; two great-grandchildren, Hannah and Roderick Stevens. She is also survived by a sister, Cornelia Reina and her husband Charles of Long Island, NY; and several nieces and nephews.
Visitation will be from 4 to 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1, with a prayer service at 7:30 p.m. at the John E. Day Funeral Home, 85 Riverside Ave., Red Bank. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's research, www.michaeljfox.org. The family wishes to thank Meridian Nursing and Hospice for the excellent and compassionate care they provided. Please visit Gloria's memorial website at www.johnedayfuneralhome.com.
John E Day Funeral Home
85 Riverside Ave
Red Bank, NJ 07701
Published in Asbury Park Press on Oct. 30, 2013