William Gelman '43 was a successful veteran, president and member of the Montclair State University Foundation's board of trustees, and beloved husband and father. Montclair State University extends our deepest condolences to his family.
William Gelman, 91, of Livingston, N.J., a retired Air Force colonel, founder of Gelman Lumber Company and chairman of the board of Coldwell Banker Feist & Feist Realty Corp, passed away on Sunday, March 10, 2013. Love of family, country, temple, and a deep respect for education were his ideals.
"Willie" was born in Newark, N.J., the son of Morris and Ida Gelman. He graduated from West Side High School and obtained his B.A. in 1943 from Montclair State University and a master of arts degree from New York University. As a member of the United States Air Force, he attended the Harvard University Graduate School of Business where he participated in a statistical control program dealing with logistics and mathematics in military planning and operations. As a member of the program's first class, these students subsequently became known as "the Wiz Kids."
He also attended the National War College in Washington, D.C. He saw military service during World War II as a member of the United Stated Army Air Corps. As a member of the U.S. Air Force Reserve, Colonel Gelman was later recalled to active duty during the Korean Conflict in 1951 and again during the Berlin Crisis of 1961, both as a member of the 108th Tactical Fighter Wing of the New Jersey Air National Guard. During his later tour, Colonel Gelman served as comptroller/deputy for the commanding officer, Chaumont Air Force Base, Chaumont, France. Among his military awards are the Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, World War II Victory Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Air Force Longevity Service Award, New Jersey Medal of Honor, New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal and, the N.J. Vietnam Service Medal.
He served as president and member of the board of trustees of the Montclair State University Foundation and was presented with a Distinguished Alumni Award in 1990 for distinguished service. Proud of his Jewish heritage, he also served as president of Temple Beth Shalom in Livingston, was member of its board of trustees, and founded the William Gelman Graduated Dues Program. He was active for many years in the United Jewish Appeal and was a recipient of the Masada Award. Bill's loving family includes his adoring wife, Shelva, of 59 years; three sons, Marc (Wendy), Steven, of blessed memory (Janet), and Robert (Lori); and his seven loving and devoted grandchildren, Jason, Adam, Jared, Shira, Jordan, Justin, and Aliza. Donations can be made in his memory to the Temple Beth Shalom Steven A. Gelman Youth Fund at www.tbsnj.org, or to Montclair State University at www.montclair.edu/giving.