Cover photo for Claris "Al" Bellinger, Jr's Obituary
Claris "Al" Bellinger, Jr Profile Photo
1927 Claris 2015

Claris "Al" Bellinger, Jr

June 3, 1927 — April 16, 2015

Claris Allen "Al" Bellinger, 87, of Gothenburg, Nebraska, died at the Golden Living Center in Cozad on April 16, 2015.

Al was born June 3, 1927 in Arcadia, Nebraska to Claris and Alberta (Thompson) Bellinger. Al graduated from Arcadia High School in 1945. Tuffy, as he was known by his high school friends, participated in high school sports where he went on to play football at the University of Nebraska-Kearney, formerly known as Kearney State College after serving in the United States Navy. He received his bachelor’s degree in Math Education with his first teaching position at Miller, Nebraska and later Ord, Nebraska, where he served as the football coach. On August 12, 1951 he married Lois (Moody). To this union, three children were born, Dennis, Nancy, and Carol. After 17 years as a math teacher, coach, and principal in Ord, Al and Lois moved to Kearney where Al was the Kearney Junior High principal. In 1974 they moved to Gothenburg where Al served as the high school principal. Al retired in 1990 after 39 years in education. After retiring, Lois and Al spent the winters in Phoenix, Arizona until 2006.

Al belonged to many educational professional organizations as well as civic organizations. He was named Principal of the Year for Region IV.  In 1966, Al was the assistant coach for the North team in the Nebraska Football Shrine Bowl. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge, Elks, Rotary, and United Methodist Church. Al loved sports of all kinds including golfing, fishing, and in later life, playing pool. He was an avid card player, which included bridge, pitch, and poker.

Al was dearly loved by his wife, children, and grandchildren. 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 enjoyed his many trips with his wife and long time friends after retiring.

Al leaves his wife, Lois; his sister, Dawn Smith of Lewisville, Texas; his sister in law Dorothy Parks of Lincoln, NE; his sister in law Helen Moody of Auburn, NE; his three children Dennis (Murleen) Bellinger of Waverly; Nancy (Dick) Wiles of Colorado Springs; 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 and nine great grandchildren. Al was preceded in death by his parents; a sister, Neta Osenbaugh; and granddaughter, Cassie L. Bellinger.  Al also leaves many nieces, nephews and friends.

Visitation will be held at Blase-Strauser Memorial Chapel, Gothenburg, Nebraska; Thursday, April 30, 2015, 9:00 am - 8:00 pm.

Funeral services will be held at First United Methodist Church, Friday, May 1, 2015 at 11:00 am with Pastor Joel Plisek officiating.

Interment will follow in the Gothenburg Cemetery, Gothenburg, Nebraska.

Memorials may be given to the Alzheimer's Association 1500 S 70th Street, Suite 201, Lincoln, NE 68506 or Gothenburg Senior Center 410 20th Street, Gothenburg, NE 69138. To sign the online guest book, go to

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Claris "Al" Bellinger, Jr, please visit our flower store.


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