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Lawrence DeBellis, Longtime Point Boro Superintendent, Has Died

Lawrence DeBellis, the retired superintendent who oversaw the Point Pleasant Boro School District's rapid expansion from the 1950s to the 1980s, has died. He was 95.
Lawrence DeBellis, the retired superintendent who oversaw the Point Pleasant Boro School District's rapid expansion from the 1950s to the 1980s, has died. He was 95.
Lawrence DeBellis, the retired superintendent who oversaw the Point Pleasant Boro School District's rapid expansion from the 1950s to the 1980s, has died. He was 95.

DeBellis passed away at home in Vermont on Friday, according to Legacy.com.

DeBellis, known by many as "Doc," presided as the founding Point Pleasant Boro superintendent of schools for 36 years, retiring in 1987.

During his tenure, the school district expanded from one school to four, including the controversial opening of Point Pleasant Boro High School in 1963 that many feared would impact the local tax rate.

Prior to the school's opening, Point Boro students attended Point Pleasant Beach High School.

His tenure also included the opening of Nellie F. Bennett Elementary School in 1969 and Memorial Middle School in the 1950s.

DeBellis was a very active superintendent who was known to do whatever it takes to save money - even if it meant driving a school bus if an operator called out sick for the day. Students remember him for his trademark flat, overgrown crewcut, and his frequent presence in the schools and at sporting events.

"Despite his professional success, he was nonetheless a very humble and selfless man," the his Legacy.com obituary read.

According to  Legacy.com:

DeBellis was born and raised in Easton, Pa.  He received his Bachelors of Science in Education from East Stroudsburg 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 masters and doctorate degree in education from Temple University in Philadelphia in 1965.

In January 1948, Debellis began his teaching career as a math and science teacher in Pemberton. After teaching in Burlington and Lindenwold, he was hired in July of 1951 to be the supervising principal of the Ocean Road School, a K-8 school with 500 students in Point Boro. In 1952 he became superintendant.

Within a few years Point Boro branched off from Pt. Pleasant Beach to be its own educational district and DeBellis spent the next 36 years establishing this new school district and building its schools.

In his honor, the administrative offices, high school and middle school were named the "Lawrence DeBellis Educational Complex."

He was a member of the Elks Club Lodge #1698, the Durand Masonic Lodge #179 F. & A.M., the Kiwanis club, and the Point Pleasant Presbyterian Church.

In June 1951, he and Melita (Curry) DeBellis were married. They remained married for 45 years until her death in April of 1997.  Together they had two daughters, Laurie and Melita Ann.

DeBellis spent the last 3 years of his life living with Melita Ann and her family in Richmond, Vt.

According to  Legacy.com:

DeBellis is survived by his daughter, Laurie Barbieri Flaherty (and husband Bill Flaherty) of Point Pleasant; his granddaughter, Lynne Barbieri Minter of Royersford, Pennsylvania; his grandson, John Barbieri, of Brick; and his great-grandson, Jaden Lawrence Minter of Royersford, Pennsylvania.

He is also survived by his daughter, Melita Ann DeBellis (and husband Mike Mulcahy) of Richmond, Vermont and their sons, Patrick Mulcahy of Clifton, and Sean Mulcahy of Richmond, Vermont.

In addition, DeBellis is survived by his sister, Mary Rizzo of Macedonia, Ohio; his brother, Dominick DeBellis of El Monte, California; his sister, Pauline (and Vincent) Fraccica of Easton, Pennsylvania, and his brother, Deacon Charles (and Janet) DeBellis of Easton, Pennsylvania, as well as many, many beloved nieces and nephews and grandnieces and nephews.

Services will be held in Vermont and New Jersey. In New Jersey, a memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 7 at the Point Pleasant Presbyterian Church, 701 Forman Ave., Point Pleasant Beach.

Friends are invited to join the family afterward at 12:30 p.m. at the Pt. Pleasant Elks Lodge, 820 Arnold Ave., Point Pleasant Beach for a celebration of DeBellis's life.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Point Pleasant Foundation for Excellence in Education, P.O. Box 3171, Point Pleasant, NJ 08742, or the Friends of Open Space Committee (please put "Bennett Log Cabin Fund" in the memo line), c/o Richard Morris, 817 Ocean Road, Point Pleasant, NJ 08742.

Online condolences may be sent to www.cremationsocietycc.com.

- See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/app/obituary.aspx?n=lawrence-debellis&pid=168309568#sthash.iakt0rIi...

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