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Wednesday, October 16, 2019

This past Sunday, the Bnai Yeshurun Men’s Club Softball League officially renamed itself in memory of Harold Gellis z”l. Gellis was a pioneer in the league, playing for over 30 years. He continued to play past his 70th birthday. And he pitched well, pitching shutouts and striking out hitters who were 50 years his junior. He was making plans for the upcoming season when he died suddenly in February.

The Bottling Company team, which he had captained for so many years, had an early game
Father’s Day morning against the Scrubs. With his son, three grandsons, son in law, and grandson-in-law taking the field, his legacy was truly honored during the game, even if the final score wasn’t favorable. After the game, more than 50 people, including captains from other teams as well as dozens of former teammates came down for a short ceremony.

A plaque was given to the Gellis family honoring Harold with the new league name. Rabbi Larry Rothwachs of Congregation Beth Aaron spoke about how Harold was so great at being part of a team while being true to himself and what he believed in. The program concluded with Harold’s son Jonathan speaking, while wearing his father’s old jersey. He thanked his mom for allowing softball to be such an important part of the family Sundays. He spoke about how his father loved his teammates like his own family, and sharing in their simchas was so special to him. He mentioned how his father would greet new members of shul not with, “Are you a Kohen or a Levi?,” but “Do you play softball, and if so, what position?”

The entire morning was a beautiful and fitting tribute to a beloved man.