Teresa (Terri) Anne Belli
August 2, 1953 ~ August 5, 2023
Resided in: New York, NY
Terri Belli died peacefully in her sleep on Saturday, August 5, 2023, following a long illness. She was a devoted sister, cousin, and friend; an accomplished journalist; and a humanitarian who was beloved by all who knew her.
Terri was born in Rochester, NY, the daughter of Emil and Josephine (Insalaco) Belli. She was a graduate of Greece Athena High School (1971) and received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the State University of New York at Brockport (1975) where she majored in theater. During her time at SUNY Brockport Terri participated in a program in Brasilia, the newly formed capital of Brazil, situated at the edge of the Amazon jungle. Following graduation, Terri spent several years as an intern and actress at the GeVa Theatre Center in Rochester, NY. In 1978, she left GeVa to pursue an acting career in New York City.
In addition to a passion for performing arts, Terri also had an interest in journalism. Once in New York City looking for work, she seized on an opportunity to work as a receptionist for CBS’s 60 Minutes. It didn’t take long for CBS and Dan Rather to recognize Terri’s talent for news media and in 1981 she became Mr. Rather’s assistant on the evening news. Ultimately, she became a CBS News producer in the Northeast Bureau, a producer on the CBS Weekend News, on the CBS Evening News, and an accomplished documentarian. Terri received the top honor awarded to those working in television – three Emmy awards for documentary news stories: “TWA Flight 100” (July 18, 1996), “Farewell to a Princess” (September 6, 1997), and “Snipers Caught” (October 24, 2002). Upon retiring from CBS in 2010, Terri continued to do documentary production and became a producer for Mr. Rather on “Dan Rather Reports” which was aired on Mark Cuban’s HDNet.
Terri enjoyed traveling for work and most significantly accompanied Mr. Rather to London for the wedding of Princess Diana and Prince Charles; to Havana for an interview with Fidel Castro; to Iceland for the meeting of Presidents Reagan and Gorbachev; and many others. She also loved to travel to Europe, New Mexico, and Palm Springs for vacations with family and friends. Among her favorite vacation locations were Santa Fe, London, Paris, and the Amalfi Coast. Traveling to Sicily with her brother and cousins to the birthplace of her ancestors was particularly memorable.
Terri lived in New York City for more than 35 years and in her free time she was a dedicated patron of performing arts, the museums MOMA and The Met, and The Metropolitan Opera. She rarely missed a new play or opera and loved to share those events and a great restaurant dinner with her friends and family.
Terri is survived by her beloved brother Lawrence (Larry) Belli, her godmother Sue Pugliese Virgilio, and her first cousin Dr. Salvatore Castronovo (Mary). She is also survived by her cousins Antoinette (Tonie) Castronovo Blair (Michael), Peter Benvenuto (Marcy), and a dedicated circle of NYC friends who cared for Terri during the length of her illness. Terri treasured her times with each one of them as well as all her other cousins and life-long friends. All will miss her warmth, humanity, kindness, and love.
Those wishing to honor Terri’s life and pay their respects to her family are invited to meet at the Vay-Schleich & Mason Funeral Home, 1075 Long Pond Road, Rochester, NY 14626 on August 18, 2023, from 9:00 AM – 10:30 AM. A funeral procession will begin there and conclude with a graveside service at 11:00 AM at Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, 2461 Lake Avenue, Rochester, NY. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in memory of Teresa Anne Belli to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center Office of Development at P.O. Box 27106, New York, NY 10087. Donations may be made out to “Memorial Sloan Kettering.” Please indicate Terri’s name in the memo line of the check or you may donate online at https://giving.mskcc.org/give.