William Gelman

September 17, 1921March 10, 2013

William Gelman, 91 of Livingston, NJ, 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, NJ, the son of Morris and Ida Gelman, graduated West Side High School and obtained his B.A. at Montclair State University and a Master of Arts degree at 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 Corp. 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, NJ Medal of Honor, NJ Distinguished Service Medal and the NJ 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 for distinguished service. Proud of his Jewish heritage, he also served as President of Temple Beth Shalom in Livingston, NJ, 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 or to Montclair State University at


  • Funeral Service Tuesday, March 12, 2013

William Gelman

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Mitchell Singer

April 26, 2013

Shelva, Marc and Robert,

I spoke with my Aunt Mady Barna earlier this evening and she told me of Bill's passing. It was a pleasure and honor to have grown up across the street from your family. Bill was one of my dad's favorite people and I felt the same way. Even as a child he always treated me like and adult and I'll always cherish that memory. I'm so glad I had the chance to see Bill and Shelva and introduce them to my wife and daughter when we were in Livingston 10 years ago. I have no doubt there is a special place in heaven for him, and I hope he, my mom and dad are having a great reunion.

Stephanie Roselle

March 25, 2013

Dear Robert and Family,
How sad I am to learn of your father's passing. My thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time. What a beautiful written tribute about your father and his amazing life. He was a true gentleman. Stephanie Roselle

Rosemarie Contey

March 15, 2013

Dear Robert, Lori and Family. You are in my thoughts and prayers. My your happy memories bring you comfort and peace. Sincerely, Rosie

G. Freeman

March 13, 2013

May your hearts soon be filled with wonderful memories of joyful times together as you celebrate a life well lived.

March 13, 2013

Sorry for your loss. Grief can be hard, but our special memories help us to cope. May God comfort you all in this time of sorrow. 2 Cor 1:4

March 11, 2013

Shelva, Marc, Robert, family and friends of Willie...

I was so saddened to learn of Willie's passing. He was a wonderful person, intelligent, kind, and dear gentleman. Although I have not kept in touch over the years, I have thought of the Gelman family often. I will keep you all in my prayers.

With sincere sympathy,
Marla (Schwartzman) Ritchie & family