Vera Clemente, wife of former Pirates star outfielder, dies | TribLIVE.com
Pirates/MLB

Vera Clemente, wife of former Pirates star outfielder, dies

Bill Hartlep
1954873_web1_gtr-vera-111719
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Vera Clemente hugs Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen during a ceremony on Roberto Clemente Day before a game against the Cubs on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2015, at PNC Park. Vera Clemente died Saturday at age 81.

Vera Clemente, the widow of former Pirates outfielder Roberto Clemente, died Saturday at age 78.

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Vera Clemente, the widow of the great Roberto Clemente and a cherished member of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Major League Baseball family,” Pirates chairman of the board Bob Nutting said in a statement.

“Vera epitomized grace, dignity and strength in the wake of heartbreaking tragedy and loss. Following Roberto’s passing, Vera raised their three sons into outstanding young men, while also working tirelessly to ensure her and her husband’s vision of compassion, service and love of others lived on forever.”

Vera Clemente was hospitalized and in delicate health, the Pirates announced Nov. 1.

She served as the chairwoman of the Roberto Clemente Foundation. She also traveled on behalf of MLB as a Goodwill Ambassador.

“As a Goodwill Ambassador for MLB, Vera impacted countless children and extended her family’s humanitarian legacy of helping those in need,” said MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred Jr. in a statement. “With grace and strength, she led the way in welcoming players to the fraternity of Roberto Clemente Award winners, the single most prestigious off-the-field honor in our game.”

She hosted a telethon in Puerto Rico to raise funds for Ciudad Roberto Clemente, a sporting complex in Carolina, Puerto Rico.

Vera and Roberto Clemente were married Nov. 14, 1963. Roberto Clemente went on to play 18 seasons in the majors and was selected to 15 All-Star games as part of a Hall of Fame career.

He became known worldwide for his charity work in Latin America and Caribbean countries in the offseason.

On Dec. 31, 1972, he died in a plane crash while en route to deliver aid to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.

His wife continued to be a Goodwill Ambassador in his name.

She is survived by three sons: Roberto Clemente Jr., Luis Clemente and Roberto Enrique.

“Vera was an amazing ambassador for the Pirates organization, our city, the game of baseball and their beloved Puerto Rico,” Nutting said. “It is with very heavy hearts that we send our condolences to Roberto Jr., Luis, Enrique and the entire Clemente family. May they find comfort in knowing that Vera and Roberto are together once again.”

Condolences quickly surfaced on social media:

Bill Hartlep is a Tribune-Review sports editor. You can contact Bill by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Pirates | Top Stories
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.