John Bellome

Dr. John Bellome

On Monday, June 21, 2021, Dr. John Bellome, loving husband and father of three, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 79.

John was born on July 22, 1941 in Brooklyn, NY, to Giovanni (John) Anthony and Evelyn (Canobbio) Bellome. His parents were so excited about his birth that they forgot to include his middle name on the birth certificate. John was proud of his Italian heritage and, as the only child, was raised as a “Prince.”

He attended Boys High School, excelling as a swimmer and serving as President of the Student Council. He proudly accumulated awards for ping pong at the local YMCA in Brooklyn and challenged all newcomers. Throughout his life, he loved the opera, and, at an early age, began attending performances at the Metropolitan Opera House with his father. Another interest shared with his father was the love of horses, and the “sport of kings.” He admitted to skipping classes and taking the train to Aqueduct or Belmont Park to study the racing forms. He was not always a winner but loved the beauty of the horses and the excitement of the race. John was especially close to his grandmother and developed many of his cooking skills at her side. He was an enthusiastic and talented chef in his home kitchen, as well as an avid gardener.

John admitted that he was a good, but not great student. However, he maintained a grade point to keep him on the honor roll. After high school, he attended Brooklyn College and went on to receive his DDS degree from New York University Dental School, where he enrolled in ROTC. Following dental school, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant in the United States Army and received orders to report to Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas, as the prison dentist for “the brig.” This was, he thought, going to be a hardship tour of duty.

As fate would have it, he had the time of his life as a young officer making many new friends living in close quarters at the Bachelor Officers Quarters (BOQ). His friends nicknamed him the “Italian Stallion” before the movie “Rocky” made the name famous. He bought his first car, a used, navy blue Volkswagen “bug” and learned to drive a stick shift. This vehicle took him to the Officers Club on Friday, the 13th of October, 1967, where he met his future wife, Judy, who was celebrating her 21st birthday with her girlfriends from St. Mary College. After a whirlwind courtship, they married on July 21, 1968 in the military chapel at Fort Leavenworth. For the last 53 years, whenever there was a Friday the 13th, no matter what month or year, they made sure to celebrate and honor the day they met.

John and Judy returned to New York where he was accepted into the Oral Surgery Residency program at Fordham/Misericordia Hospital where he became board certified in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. After graduation, he entered private practice in the Bronx with his mentor and former dean of his Oral Surgery program, Dr. Vincent Ragaini. Eventually, John moved his family back to Kansas, where he worked as an Oral Surgeon, and later as Chief of Dentistry at the Veterans Medical Center (VA) in Kansas City, Missouri. After he retired from the VA, he became the Chairman of the Undergraduate Department at the University of Missouri Dental School, where he found a love of teaching and a passion for helping his students excel. He received multiple awards as a “Distinguished Teacher” from 2007 to 2014, when he finally retired.

John continued his service in the Army Reserve, retiring as an Army Colonel with 32 years of service in both active and reserve capacity. Most notably, he was activated during Operation Desert Storm in 1991, serving on the Iraqi border to help establish a “MASH” (Mobile Army Surgical Hospital) unit. He was always so proud of his service to his country, and his uniform.

John was preceded in death by his father, John, and his mother, Evelyn. He is survived by his wife, Judith, his three children, Kimberly Del Popolo (Rob), Elizabeth Bellome, and John Anthony Bellome, Jr.; granddaughter, Mia Del Popolo, who was the “apple of his eye,” and many other loved family members.

Arrangements are being made for a private military funeral at the federal cemetery in Leavenworth, Kansas, after cremation. John was an organ donor, though he wondered “what could be salvaged from a 79-year-old body.” A “Celebration of Life” in his honor is planned for Saturday, August 7, 2021 from 2-4 p.m. at Arterra Event Gallery, 2161 Quail Creek Drive, Lawrence, Kansas.

Memorial contributions may be made in John’s name to Douglas County Visiting Nurses and Hospice in care of Warren-McElwain Mortuary, 120 W. 13th Street, Lawrence, KS 66044.

25 Condolences

  1. Kim Murphree on June 24, 2021 at 10:47 am

    Dear Judy and family,

    I was very sad to hear of your loss. Please know you are all in my prayers.

    Kim Murphree

  2. Robin Shryock on June 24, 2021 at 6:38 pm

    Judy and family, our prayers are with you during this time and always with you. Please know you will always have my love.

  3. Janet Mears on June 25, 2021 at 1:58 pm


    So very sorry for your loss. May you find comfort and peace during this difficult time.

    Janet Mears

  4. Arlene diamonti on June 25, 2021 at 2:41 pm

    Dear Judy, my thoughts and prayers are with you. Sincerely, Arlene Diamonti

  5. Mary Davis on June 25, 2021 at 3:49 pm

    I can only add that John defined friendship. I always felt welcome in your home and your life. I am so sorry for the sadness now and pray for comfort and peace.

  6. Mary Anne Cresto on June 25, 2021 at 4:59 pm

    My thoughts and prayers are with you. Mom enjoyed your kindness at St. Mary gatherings.

  7. John Ball on June 25, 2021 at 8:12 pm

    Dr. Bellome (John) was a wonderful mentor and teacher. He helped me mature as a dentist during my VA general dental practice residency and throughout my career. I enjoyed his personality and sense of humor. He was respected by all of his students, as well as his peers!
    I am proud to call him a friend and colleague! He was a special person!
    I know that God will continue to bless and comfort you- his family.

  8. Courtney Weber on June 25, 2021 at 8:34 pm

    Judy, Kim, and family….

    We are so sorry for your loss. We know how much you all loved and adored John, as did all who met him. We are keeping you all in our prayers during this most difficult time.


    Curtis and Courtney

  9. Carol Hewitt on June 25, 2021 at 8:48 pm

    Judy, Wayne and I were saddened to hear about John’s death. Our sympathies to you and your family. Sincerely, Carol and Wayne Hewitt

  10. Nancy Moran on June 25, 2021 at 9:14 pm

    Dear Judy and family,
    I’m so sorry for your sudden loss. Please know you are all in my prayers.
    Nancy Moran

  11. Ali Al Jumaili on June 25, 2021 at 9:36 pm

    Dear Judy,
    My wife and I were students who were taught by Dr. Bellome. We are so sorry for your loss. Our sympathies and prayers to you and your family.
    Rasha & Ali Jumaili

  12. Clenece Hills on June 25, 2021 at 11:37 pm

    Judy and family,
    What an accomplished man you have lost. I extend my respect for John’s life and the life that you shared with him.

  13. Judy A Davis-Cole on June 26, 2021 at 10:31 am


    John had such a full and accomplished life as told in his memoriam, and known by those who knew and loved him. I’m so very sorry for the loss of your husband, father, grandfather, protector, teacher, mentor, and of course —chef.

    My caring thoughts are with you and yours.

  14. Philip Newkirk on June 26, 2021 at 10:40 am

    I graduated from UMKC Dental School in 2011. Dr. Bellome was one of my favorite instructors and I still hear his voice in my head when I do extractions. He was kind and firm and had a wonderful sense of humor, I’m glad I had the privilege of learning from him. My condolences on your loss, thank you for lending his wisdom to us students.

  15. Linda Butti on June 26, 2021 at 6:28 pm

    so sorry Judy…such a lovely man…I hope the flowers we sent were beautiful and remind you of the beauty in the world – even at this time….

  16. Judy and Monroe Stark on June 26, 2021 at 8:44 pm

    So Sorry got hear of John’s passing. Know that your strong family will be of great comfort to you.
    May your many happy years together bring you fond memories. John was such a wonderful companion.

  17. Phil Meehan on June 26, 2021 at 10:22 pm

    Judy and Family,

    I was one of his students during his time at UMKC dental school. John was always approachable in clinic, funny, and cared about his students. He was a great mentor to our class and played a big role in my own career of becoming an OMFS. I feel lucky to have known him. My condolences go out to you, family and friends of John during this time.

  18. Tim Goodheart on June 27, 2021 at 7:41 am

    I had the great fortune to have Dr. Bellome on staff at the VA when I was a general practice resident there. He was and is easily one of the biggest influences on my career. He was always there to teach, share a laugh, give a pat on the back or advice. Such a tremendous teacher, surgeon and human being. Such a life well lived.

  19. pamela Eglinski on June 27, 2021 at 2:56 pm

    Judy, I was so sorry to read of John’s passing. I know only too well, the loss of a husband. My prayers are with you, and should you need anything please do not hesitate to call. My deepest condolences.

  20. Cristy Sullivan on June 29, 2021 at 9:17 am

    Mrs. Bellome,
    So sorry to hear this. I remember way back in Colony Woods when I babysat the kids. He was always such a nice man. Please know you all are in my prayers.
    Cristy Beiriger

  21. Linda Lester on July 6, 2021 at 9:14 pm

    Judy, So sorry for your loss…Thinking of you and the Family.
    Linda Lester

  22. Carol Schmitt on July 7, 2021 at 9:55 am

    Dear Judy and Family,

    I was surprised and saddened to hear of John’s death. I’m hopeful that your memories will help you grieve your loss.

  23. Kelly Calvert DiVilbiss on July 18, 2021 at 3:25 pm


    Thinking of your and your family during this difficult time. So sorry to hear of your husband’s passing.

    Kelly Calvert DiVilbiss

  24. Dan Nielson on July 30, 2021 at 9:45 am

    He was one of a kind and will never be replaced. He was a master at pushing you to go further, while making you laugh. His professional legacy of the thousands of practicing dentist all around the country is nothing short of amazing! Rest in peace Doc.

  25. Diane and Kenny Massey on August 6, 2021 at 11:11 pm

    Judy, our sincere condolences for your loss.

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