5/1/2012 - Zora Bellamy Honored at Judson College
By Michael J. Brooks
Zora Richards Bellamy of Altoona, Pa. received the 2012 Outstanding Alumna Award at Judson College's recent alumnae weekend, "J Day," April 13-14.
Her friends and co-workers say Bellamy's life has been predicated on giving back to the community, providing leadership and creating opportunities for girls and women. Her awards and recognitions reflect her experiences at Judson, and she's demonstrated love for others through her commitment to her church, her community and her vocation.
"The Alumnae Association has chosen well," said Judson president Dr. David Potts. “The College’s alma mater speaks of a ‘beacon on a hilltop.’ Certainly, Zora Bellamy has reflected light in every facet of her life."
Bellamy grew up in Marion and was baptized at Siloam Baptist Church. After graduating from Perry County High School in 1951, she and six of her classmates enrolled at Judson. Bellamy graduated cum laude in 1955 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. She later took classes at the University of Alabama to earn her teaching degree and taught math and science for two years at Monroe County High School in Monroeville, Ala.
She married William C. Bellamy at Siloam Baptist Church in 1957 and they started their married life in the Washington, D.C. area, where Zora taught at the Congressional Schools of Northern Virginia. She and sister alumna Ann Maden Imler ('54) obtained a list of Judson graduates living in the area and organized an alumnae chapter. Bellamy served as that chapter president for two years.
After the family left D.C., Bellamy was a stay-at-home mom to her two children, Elizabeth and William, for almost 20 years. She volunteered with the Altoona Symphony League, the "Save the Mishler" Theatre group and the Blair County Arts Foundation. She was a charter member of the Friends of the Altoona Area Public Library and president and board member of the Blair County Civic Music Association, which brought nationally and internationally-acclaimed performing artists and groups to Altoona.
William Bellamy's life was cut short by lung cancer, and he died at age 42.
Afterwards Zora Bellamy became a bookkeeper at the United Way of Blair County. She became the first woman appointed to serve on the Blair County Planning Commission and later served as its chairman and vice-chairman. She also served ten years on the Altoona Planning Commission and four years on the Altoona Cable Committee--the first woman to serve on these committees as well.
Bellamy became executive director of the YWCA of Altoona in 1983. In this role, she established an annual "Woman of the Year" award for outstanding women in business and industry and annual "Triangle Awards" to recognize YWCA members who were active in their church and community.
The "Woman of the Year Award" has become the "YWCA Tribute to Women Award" which recognizes women throughout the nation who excel in each of six categories.
Bellamy also assisted in the formation of the Pennsylvania Council of YWCAs and served as the group's first secretary.
Bellamy became the executive director of the Blair County Association for the Blind and Visually Handicapped in 1988. While executive director she served on the boards of two statewide organizations--the Pennsylvania Association for the Blind and the Pennsylvania Industries for the Blind and Handicapped. She retired in 1996.
Bellamy's many awards include the 1993 "Athena Award," administered locally by the Chamber of Commerce and recognizing working women for their leadership and role modeling; the 1994 "William Van Essen Award of the Mid Counties Optometric Society," for services provided to the visually impaired of Blair County; the 1999 "Altoona Mirror Woman of Distinction," for community service as a volunteer; the 2005 "YWCA Tribute to Women Award" in recognition of her service on the Blair County Planning Commission, her work as YWCA director to initiate the Tribute to Women Award and her volunteer work in the community and the 2011 "YWCA Tribute to Women Lifetime Achievement Award."