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.

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  1. Dear Kimmy and Dale, I am so sorry about your Mom. I wish I could come to the service but it’s not possible but I will be thinking of you. I just read her obituary and what an amazing woman she was. My kind of gal. I’m sure Tyler and Julie will miss her. What else can I say except that I wish I had known her better. Lots of love, Gramma

  2. It was a pleasure to work with Valerie Clinton Bertrand while I was employed at the Ethnic Heritage Center as its Archivist/ Librarian from 2006-2013. She was the President of the Greater New Haven African American Historical Society, one of the five historical societies comprising the Ethnic Heritage Center, for all those years. She cared deeply about both organizations. In 2016 she became the President of EHC. She also cared deeply about people as individuals, and was a truly kind person. My sincere condolences to Donald and Dale, and to all her family and friends.

  3. My thoughts and prayers are with your family Don. Valerie was an amazing woman who accomplished so much. Her work with the GNHAAHS and the Ethnic Heritage center will be a lasting tribute to her and her passion for remembering those who came before us. Though she willed be dearly missed, the ancestors whose stories she sought to tell have welcomed her into their eternal life.

  4. To Dale and Family, My heart, prayers and condolences go out to the family. May God continue to strengthen and comfort you now and always. I will miss Val, a beautiful, effervescent, godly lady, a friend. Sincerely,

  5. To Dale, Donald and all family members: I was so sad to learn of Val’s passing. I really enjoyed talking with her about how everything was going. I know it has been a long time since I saw her but our prayers are with her today. God Bless you all.

  6. Dear Family, it is with a heavy heart that l give you Richard my condolence. We are praying that God will continue to give you whatever you need to get through this dark period. We loved Valerie very much and will miss her beautiful light that shined always so bright. Please know that we will continue to keep you all in our thoughts and prayers.

  7. My father said he worked with her at the Grace Memorial Hospital when Miss Valerie was 18 years old which is known as Yale New Haven Hospital now. I never met her but he said he named me after her. I am sure she was a special lady. RIP.

  8. Dear Don, It was such a joy and a please to work with Valerie on New Haven’s African American history. She was so knowledgeable and collaborative-I always knew she could help me with a Connecticut Explored magazine story or with a connection. I’m so glad that you both could attend the Road Trip! exhibit opening and see a part of her collection on display. I will miss her. My prayers to you and her family. All the best, Mary Donohue

  9. Had the honor of working with Valerie briefly to find artifacts for the old Q-House of Dixwell Avenue, New Haven…was a joy to spend time with her. She was so generous with her time and information. She gave so much of herself to ensure that our rich history would remain preserved and treasured. Condolences to her family and friends. The community has lost a valuable resource. Iman Hameen

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