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Remembering Vera Clemente

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World Series - Cleveland Indians v Chicago Cubs - Game Three Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Any time you have an opportunity to make a difference in this world and you don’t, then you are wasting your time on Earth. Roberto Clemente

When Roberto Clemente was killed in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972, his wife, Vera, was thirty-one years old with three small boys. No one would have blamed her for withdrawing from the world to focus on raising her children and grieving her husband.

Instead, Vera stepped into his shoes and carried on his legacy of humanitarianism for the rest of her life.

After she was reported to be “in delicate health” on November first, the Pirates and Major League Baseball reported the sad news that she had passed away on Saturday in a San Juan, Puerto Rico hospital. She was 78 years old.

As head of the Roberto Clemente Foundation, Vera was involved in countless acts of charity both in Pittsburgh and Puerto Rico. Her last visit to Pittsburgh was on Roberto Clemente Day, September eighteenth, visiting the Allegheny Intermediate Unit Latino Family Center and the families it serves.

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