PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — They say that standing beside every great man is a great woman.
Vera Clemente married Roberto Clemente in 1963.
When he died in 1972, she raised their three sons and continued his legacy helping those who were less fortunate.
Former Pirate Steve Blass was a friend and teammate, he remembers Vera Clemente’s dignity and strength.
“She was perfect, perfect wife, companion, person for Roberto,” he said. “We got to know her, she was a gracious lady.”
Not long after her husband was killed in a plane crash, she picked up where he left off – trying to help the people of Puerto Rico by creating a sports city for Children.
“She was the Clemente after he was gone, kept the family together, kept the foundation together, worked tirelessly to see the departee of the sports city he had dreamed about,” Blass said.
“She spent her whole life fulfilling her husband’s dream, she worked hard, she partnered with Major League Baseball and they changed the Commissioner’s Award to the Clemente Award,” said Duane Reider, founder of the Roberto Clemente Museum.
Duane Rieder is the curator and founder of the Roberto Clemente Museum and says it would have never happened without Vera.
Reider helped restore many of her photos damaged by hurricanes.
The museum started as an archive but all of that changed in 2006 when she was honored at the MLB All-Star Game.
With her support, pictures, mementos, and other Clemente collectibles, they were converted into the museum on Penn Avenue.
She was an ambassador for the Pirates and Major League Baseball.
“I firmly believe if he had lived, he would be the governor and she would be the first lady, they both had a presence,” Blass said.
“Pittsburgh is losing one of the best, one of the best, she loved this town as much as she did her own in Puerto Rico,” added Reider.