vic gelb was a caring loving person and passionate leader
This information was compiled from recent obituaries that appeared on the Jewish Federation of Cleveland website and the Cleveland Plain Dealer newspaper.
With deep sadness, IsraelImpact reports the passing of beloved longtime friend, vic gelb. He was 91.
vic served for 14 years as a volunteer leader on our board of directors and served as chair of IsraelImpact ‘s governance committee. In 2014, he became an honorary board member.
“Since my time as Shaliach in Cleveland 40 years ago, I looked up to you. I learned from you to lead with humility and determination, to be worthy of our people’s history and the highest of human values,” Chaim Peri said about his friend, vic.
Bobby’s Place is Established at Yemin Orde
vic began writing his name in lowercase letters in memory of his late son, Robert Gelb, who died in 1994 as a result of complications from AIDS. vic, and his wife, joan, both chose to lowercase their names in his memory. gelb later chaired Cleveland’s citizen’s committee on HIV and AIDS.
There is a special location at Yemin Orde Youth Village that is named in memory of vic’s son, Bobby. This spot, called Bobby’s Place, offers opportunity for the Village’s youth and staff to relax and reflect.
“vic gelb looked forward to coming from Cleveland to New York for semi-annual board meetings. We remember his dapper sense of style at these meetings,” said Karen Sallerson, “vic’s vast experience working with nonprofits always provided us with important guidance and wisdom. We will miss him dearly.”
vic was a prominent business leader and active volunteer in Cleveland’s Jewish community. His reputation for generosity and his kind heart earned him the friendship and respect of those who worked alongside him on many fundraising events, annual campaigns, and more.
“vic gelb was proof that a good man can have it all. He was a devoted husband, a loving father and grandfather, an accomplished international businessman, and a community leader. When vic saw a need to help, he jumped in and asked others to join him in making the world a better place. Being his friend could be costly, but you became a better mensch,” said Stephen H. Hoffman, President, Jewish Federation of Cleveland.
gelb’s daughter, Leslie Gelb, said her father was “a leader and a humanitarian.”
“He was an exceptional man,” Leslie Gelb said. “A man who got involved in the issues he cared about – children’s issues, Israel and civic-minded organizations. A truly genuine, exceptional human being who gave and kept giving. And in the end, you get what you give. He got a lot back. A lot of love for this community.”
A Fulfilling Life for vic gelb
vic gelb was president of Victor Gelb Inc. since 1981. Previously, he was executive vice president of Ohio Advertising Agency; CEO of Woodhill Permatex Corp., president and CEO of Cole Consumer Products; vice chairman of Cook-United; and chairman of Capital American Finance Corp.
He graduated from Adelbert College in 1951 with a degree in marketing.
gelb was the 1997 co-recipient of the Federation’s Charles Eisenman Award, its highest civic honor, along with Peter Rzepka. He also received the Newton D. Baker Distinguished Service Award from the Alumni Association of Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He has served on the boards of the Playhouse Square Foundation, United Way of Greater Cleveland, Bellefaire JCB, Shoes and Clothes for Kids and many others.
In 1960, gelb joined the national board of Big Brothers of America and became national president in 1970. He served as vice chair of the Chautauqua Foundation in New York, Chautauqua Institution’s fundraising arm. He was the first Jew to serve on its foundation board and chaired a campaign from 2003 to 2007 that raised $53 million.
gelb is survived by his wife of 70 years, joan; three daughters, Leslie Gelb, Kathy de Windt and Cindy Grabner, seven grandchildren; and 12 great-grandchildren.