Eugene B. "Gene" Valdemi '50, a long-time benefactor of the College, died on March 25 after complications from surgery. A resident of Cambria, Calif., Valdemi was 82.
Valdemi was the son of the well-known Italian Impressionist painter Alve Valdemi. He and his wife, Edie, were devoted supporters of the Hearst Art Gallery, providing funds for its operations as well as contributing their time as active volunteers. After the death of his wife in 1997, Valdemi established the Edith Valdemi Endowed Fund, which provides most of the funding for the Gallery's annual summer exhibit. He also was instrumental in the development of alumni chapters in Fresno, San Luis Obispo, Bakersfield, and Seattle, as well as on the East Coast. In 2002, he was named Alumnus of the Year by the Saint Mary's College Alumni Association.
Valdemi began his studies as an undergraduate at Saint Mary's in 1940. He received his bachelor's degree in 1950, after his military service in World War II delayed his studies. He also played with the legendary Herman Wedemeyer on the heralded Saint Mary's football team of the mid-1940s. Valdemi grew up in Alameda and attended Alameda High School. Long before attending the College, however, Valdemi visited Saint Mary's with his mother and two uncles for the groundbreaking ceremonies in 1928 that marked the College's move from Oakland to Moraga.
Valdemi is survived by a daughter, Suzanne Sabeth, of Los Angeles County, and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A mass and memorial service were held in his memory on Tuesday, April 5, 2005, at Santa Rosa Catholic Church in Cambria.
Donations may be made to the Edith Valdemi Endowed Fund at Saint Mary's College, 1928 Saint Mary's Rd., Moraga, CA 94575.