January 22, 1946 ~ July 13, 2017
Valerie (Clinton) Bertrand, 71, of Hamden passed away on Thursday, July 13, 2017 at Connecticut Hospice in Branford. She was the beloved wife of Donald Bertrand, of Hamden, and mother of Dale Bertrand, of Boston, MA. Valerie was born in New Haven on January 22, 1946, daughter of the late Leroy and Emma (Reed) Clinton. Along with her husband Don and son Dale, Valerie is survived by Dale’s wife Kimberly; sisters Joyce Clinton Scott and Deborah Gordneer; nephews Michael and Mark Clinton; and her adoring grandchildren Tyler and Julianne Bertrand. Valerie was a teacher, renowned collector, speaker and historian. Upon graduating with a Bachelor’s degree from Southern Connecticut State University, she assumed teaching assignments in the Hamden and New Haven Public School Systems, while following her life-long passion as a collector of African-American artifacts, antiques and other historical ephemera. A contributor to many books and articles on the subject, Valerie became Founder and President of the Greater New Haven African-American Historical Society, an organization she developed and managed over many years to celebrate the cultural contributions of African Americans in and around New Haven. She served as editor of the quarterly published Greater New Haven African-American Newsletter, chock full of current cultural topics and historical accounts, and through the Society hosted an annual award given to local area notables, including the former Federal Circuit Judge Constance Baker Motley and actor Ben Vereen. In 2016, Valerie was elected Director of the Ethnic Heritage Center (consisting of 5 ethnic societies) on the SCSU campus. Relatives and friends are invited to a funeral service for Valerie on Saturday, July 22, 2017 at 10:30am at the United Church on the Green, 270 Temple Street in New Haven. Burial will follow at Beaverdale Memorial Park, New Haven. Visitation with Valerie’s family will take place on Friday, July 21 from 6:00-8:00pm at Beecher & Bennett Funeral Home, 2300 Whitney Ave., Hamden.