PALO ALTO, Calif. — Henry Joseph Gelles, 84, passed away Saturday, Dec. 11, 2010 at the Veterans’ Hospital in Palo Alto, California.
The oldest son of the late Yentha and Louis Gelles, he was born on Oct. 26, 1926 in Rochester. He grew up in Lake Placid, where he graduated from high school in 1944.
Following graduation, Henry enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served in the Pacific until the end of World War II. He went on to attend Syracuse University where he earned a degree in business and accounting and played varsity football. After graduating from Syracuse in 1951, Henry attended Albany Law School where he earned his Law Degree in 1955.
Henry and his wife Carol Gold, also a graduate of Lake Placid High School, married in the summer of 1951, and raised a family of four children: Steve, Peter, John and Amy.
In Lake Placid, from 1955 to 1984, Henry set up a private practice as a tax attorney and became active in the community, taking leadership in its many organizations, such as: Lake Placid’s school board for 25 years, the Lake Placid Olympic Organizing Committee, the Masons, the American Legion, the Bank of Lake Placid’s board of directors and the Lions Club. Additionally, he was instrumental in bringing educational television to the North Country.
In 1984, Henry and Carol retired to Northern California to be near their daughter.
He is survived by his wife Carol of Menlo Park, Calif.; his children: Peter and John Gelles of Jacksonville, Fla., Amy Duren of San Jose, Calif.; his siblings: Walter Gelles of New Rochelle, Edith Gelles of Palo Alto, Calif. and David Gelles of Tarzana, Calif.
He was predeceased by son, Steve in 1965.
Henry was thoughtful, generous, optimistic and a problem-solver. He took the time to understand the world around him and apply that knowledge to everyday people and their problems. He cared deeply for his country and his family.
In his memory, donations can be made to the following organizations that reflect his love for and commitment to country and education: Syracuse University School of Management, 820 Comstock Avenue, Syracuse, NY 13244, attention: A. La France, alumni office, and the local branches of both the American Legion and the Masons (scholarships to graduating high school students).