Abraham Gelman

Obituary of Abraham Gelman

Sandy Spring, MD - Abraham Gelman,86,of 18100 Slade School Road died after a long illness. He was the widower of Natalie Michaels Gelman to whom he was married for forty-one years. Mr. Gelman was a self-employed businessman in the retail gasoline station business in Branford and other towns in Connecticut from the early 1950's to 1982 when he retired. He was a 45- year member of Widow's Son Lodge 66, AF&AM. Branford, serving as Worshipful Master in 1991, and a 32nd degree Scottish Rites mason. In his late 70s. Mr. Gelman lived in Florida, where he was an honorary member of the Florida Sheriff's Association and trained to be an Emergency Medicial Technician with the Sun City Center Fire Department. He moved to Maryland in 2002. Mr. Gelman was born on September 29. 1922 in New York City and raised in New London, CT, the son of Jacob and Sarah Gelman, orthodox Russian and Polish Jews who spoke no English and arrived at Ellis Island from Europe in 1921. He graduated from Berkeley High School in New London, Connecticut in 1939 where he played on the football and baseball teams. After High School he served as a civilian test crew member at the Groton Submarine Base, and shortly thereafter enlisted in the U.S. Navy assigned to North Sea submarine operations during the early part of World War II. He volunteered for special operations with the Office of Strategic Services, serving under OSS Director William "Wild Bill" Donovan. Mr. Gelman participated in many top secret OSS operations, including parachuting numerous times behind Gerran lines, and parachuting onto and capturing a stranded German submarine. He received a number of "Black Awards" for top secret missions from President Truman. so-called because the top secret nature of the missions were crossed-out with a black marker. In the event that capture was imminent during his missions, he was provided with poison pills to take and his American military identity was hidden by wearing Royal Canadian 6th Airborne Brigade dog tags. Initially after World War II. Mr. Gelman continued to work with U.S. intelligence services, and assisted Simon Wiesenthal and the U.S. Justice Department in tracking and locating war criminals. After military service, Mr. Gelman went on to play semi-professional football with the New London Diesels and baseball with the Waterbury Pirates. a farm team of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He leaves a daughter Eve Gelman, son-in-law Michael Freilich and a grandson Max of New Hope Pennsylvania, and a son Jeffrey Gelman and daughter in law Tamera Shingle Gelman of Washington, D.C. He was predeceased by his wife Natalie and his brother Michael. Graveside funeral services will be held at 12 noon on Wednesday April 1,2009 at Beaver Brook Cemetery, Route 145 in Clinton, Connecticut, off Exit 64,I-95. For directions and other inquires please contact Clancy Funeral Home, 43 Kirkham Ave., East Haven, CT at 203-467-2789. Memorial contributions may be made to Widow’s Son Lodge #66, 8 Eades St., Branford, CT 06405 or CT Hospice, 100 Double Beach Rd., Branford, CT 06405. Online condolences may be sent to jhg532@earthlink.net
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