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Claris Allen Bellinger, 87 - April 16, 2015

Claris Allen “Al” Bellinger, 87, of Gothenburg passed away at the Golden Living Center in Cozad on April 16, 2015.
Services will be conducted at the First United Methodist Church on Friday, May 1, at 11 a.m. with the Rev. Joel Plisek officiating. Interment will be at the Gothenburg Cemetery.
A visitation will take place at Blase-Strauser Memorial Chapel of Gothenburg on Thursday, April 30, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Bellinger was born June 3, 1927, at Arcadia to Claris and Alberta (Thompson) Bellinger.
He graduated from Arcadia High School in 1945, where he was known as “Tuffy.” He participated in high school sports and he went on to play football at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, formerly Kearney State College, after serving with the United States Navy.
Bellinger received his bachelor’s degree in math education with his first teaching position at Miller, and later Ord, where he served as the football coach.
On Aug. 12, 1951, he married Lois Moody. To this union, three children were born.
After 17 years as a math teacher, coach and principal at Ord, he and his family moved to Kearney where he was the Kearney Junior High principal. In 1974, they moved to Gothenburg where he served as the high school principal as well.
Bellinger retired in 1990 after 39 years in education. After retiring, he and his wife spent the winters in Phoenix, AZ, until 2006.
He had belonged to many educational professional organizations as well as civic organizations. He was named Principal of the Year for Region IV. In 1966, he was the assistant coach for the North team of the Nebraska Football Shrine Bowl.
Bellinger was a member of the Masonic Lodge, Elks, Rotary and the United Methodist Church.
?He loved sports of all kinds including golfing, fishing and, in later life, playing pool, family members said. He was also an avid card player which included bridge, pitch and poker.
?Bellinger was dearly loved by his wife, children and grandchildren, the family said. Gramps, as he was known to his grandchildren, was always willing to spend time with them whether watching a movie, playing sports or playing cards with them. He also enjoyed his many trips with his wife and long time friends after retiring.
He was preceded in death by: his parents, Claris and Alberta; a sister, Neta Osenbaugh; a granddaughter, Cassie L. Bellinger.
Survivors include: his wife, Lois; his sister, Dawn Smith of Lewisville, TX; sisters-in-law—Dorothy Parks of Lincoln and Helen Moody of Auburn; his three children—Dennis (Murleen) Bellinger of Waverly, Nancy (Dick) Wiles of Colorado Springs, CO, and Carol (Carl) Dietz of Ogallala; eight grandchildren—Matt Wiles, Jason Wiles, Holly Malick, Derek Bel­linger, Chelsie Bellinger, Nathan Dietz, Lindsey Favinger and Jennifer Demoret; nine great-grandchildren; numerous nieces and nephews.
Memorials are suggested to the Alzheimer’s Association 1500 S. 70th St., Suite 201, Lincoln, NE 68506, and the Gothenburg Senior Center, 410 20th St., Gothenburg, NE 69138.