Last Sunday, Teaneck’s Bnai Yeshurun Men’s Club Softball League was officially renamed in memory of league pioneer Harold Gellis, who was known to pitch shutouts and strike out hitters who were 50 years his junior. Mr. Gellis already was planning for the upcoming season when he died suddenly in February. The league now will be known as the Harold Gellis z”l B’nai Yeshurun Men’s Club Softball League.
Mr. Gellis played for more than 30 years — many of them as captain — and kept going past his 70th birthday. He played for the Bottling Company team, originally comprised of all Beth Aaron members. This year, on Father’s Day morning, the team played against the Scrubs. Mr. Gellis’ wife, Gloria, their son Jonathan — who wore his father’s old jersey — three grandsons, a son-in- law, and a grandson-in-law all were there to watch the game. Afterward, more than 50 people, including captains from other teams, former teammates, and family members, attended the renaming ceremony at Benjamin Franklin Junior High School.
Jonathan Gellis moved to Israel two years ago but he lived in Teaneck until then. He was the founding owner of the Doghouse.
The Gellis family was given a plaque memorializing the league’s name change. Rabbi Larry Rothwachs of Congregation Beth Aaron said, “Harold was so great at being part of a team, while being true to himself and what he believed in.” Jonathan Gellis talked about his dad’s love of his teammates as if they were his family, and how he shared in their simchas. He mentioned that his father would greet new members of shul not with “Are you a Kohen or a Levi?” but with “Do you play softball? What position?”