LAWRENCE DEBELLIS

LAWRENCE DEBELLIS - PT. PLEASANT, N.J./ RICHMOND, Vt. - Dr. Lawrence DeBellis of Pt. Pleasant, N.J., and Richmond, Vt., passed away at home in Vermont on Friday, Nov. 29, 2013, surrounded by his loving family. He was 95 years young. Born and raised in Easton, Pa., to Donato and Anna DeBellis, immigrants from Italy, Larry was raised in a close knit and loving home of nine children. His upbringing instilled in him the values that defined his life: care for family, education, work, service, thrift. He was a highly regarded and respected professional; over his 36 years as founding Superintendent of Schools of the Pt. Pleasant Boro, N.J., school district he oversaw the development, construction, staffing and operation of its four schools. Despite his professional success, he was nonetheless a very humble and selfless man. This was reflected in his many years of community service as a founding member of the Pt. Pleasant Rotary and Lions clubs, and as a member of the Elks Club, the Masons, the Kiwanis club, and the Pt. Pleasant Presbyterian Church. He was also a recipient of the Rotary's Paul Harris Award and was inducted into the Pt. Pleasant Boro Educational Hall of Fame. Larry received his Bachelor of Science in Education from East Stroudsburg (Pa.) State Teachers College in 1942. Upon his graduation, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and then transferred to the Quartermaster Corps. Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant, he was assigned as a company training officer at Camp Lee, Va. In December 1947, he was honorably discharged as a First Lieutenant. He obtained his Master's and Doctorate degrees in Education from Temple University in Philadelphia in 1965. In January 1948, Larry began his teaching career as a math and science teacher in Pemberton, N.J. He was hired in July 1951 to be the supervising principal of the Ocean Road School, a K-8 school with 500 students in Pt. Pleasant Boro, N.J., a very rural town at the Jersey Shore. In 1952, he became superintendent. Within a few years, Pt. Pleasant Boro branched off from Pt. Pleasant Beach to be its own educational district and Larry spent the next 30-plus years establishing this new school district and building its schools. When he retired in 1987, his 36 years of service represented the longest unbroken superintendency in one school district ever in New Jersey - a tenure unheard of today. In June 1951, Larry and Melita (Curry) DeBellis were married. They remained married for 45 years, until her death in April 1997. Together they had two daughters, Laurie and Melita Ann, who hold many loving memories of their father. Larry spent the last three years of his life living with Melita Ann and her family in Richmond, where he developed many new friendships that brought great enjoyment to his life. Larry is survived by his daughter, Laurie Barbieri Flaherty and husband, Bill Flaherty, of Pt. Pleasant, N.J.; granddaughter, Lynne Barbieri Minter of Royersford, Pa.; grandson, John Barbieri, of Brick, N.J.; and great-grandson, Jaden Lawrence Minter of Royersford, Pa. He is also survived by his daughter, Melita Ann DeBellis and husband, Mike Mulcahy, of Richmond, and their sons, Patrick Mulcahy of Clifton, N.J., and Sean Mulcahy of Richmond. In addition, Larry is survived by his sister, Mary Rizzo of Macedonia, Ohio; brother, Dominick DeBellis of El Monte, Calif.; sister, Pauline and Vincent Fraccica of Easton, Pa.; brother, Deacon Charles and Janet DeBellis of Easton, Pa.; and many, many beloved nieces and nephews. Larry was predeceased by his sisters, Jeanette Cerciello, Margaret Corona, and Hilda Slahta; and brother, Donald DeBellis. The family would like to thank his wonderful friends and caretakers who brought such joy and support to Larry, especially Gina Crabtree, Beverly Little Thunder, and Andrea Andrus, as well as the Visiting Nurse Association. A date and location for services in Vermont will be advised at a later date. Online condolences may be made to www.cremationsocietycc.com. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Richmond Community Senior Center, PO Box 508, Richmond, VT; the Richmond Food Shelf, PO Box 174, Richmond, VT; or the Visiting Nurse Association of Chittenden and Grand Isle Counties.


Published in The Burlington Free Press on Dec. 4, 2013