Stuart B. Gellman, 88, an author, public relations consultant and advocate of victims' rights, died April 3 at home and at peace. He built an early career in his native Philadelphia, spent his middle years in Tucson and moved back east to reunite with a woman he loved.
Gellman discovered a knack for journalism at Germantown High School, where he was sports editor of the newspaper and stringer for The Evening Bulletin. After graduation he worked weekends on the Bulletin's rewrite desk, became front-page and sports editor of the Germantown Courier in 1951, and mustered into the Army in 1953. After military service in Japan, Gellman enrolled at Rider College, rose to editor of the Rider News and won the Ferris Prize for finest journalism student. He graduated in 1957, covered the invention of the transistor for Fairchild Publications and then joined the International Resistance Company in 1959 as Public Relations Director. From 1962 to 1974 he founded and ran Stuart Gellman Associates, a financial public relations agency. For several golden summers at Camp Rockhill, he was a beloved staff leader by day and the terrifying Green Slime monster by night.
In 1978, Gellman moved to Tucson for a life of service. There he devoted hundreds of volunteer hours each year to give practical aid and comfort to victims of crime and natural disasters. He was an Advocate with the Pima County Victim Witness Program from 1981 to 1993, where he co-founded the Critical Incident Debriefing Team and was active in passage of the Arizona Victim Rights Act. His work with crime victims was featured in Life Magazine (April 1984) and in Reader's Digest (Feb. 1985). He served on the local Board of Directors of MADD and as mental health chair of Tucson's Red Cross chapter, receiving its Community Relations award in 2000. In the 1990s and 2000s he was a Pima County steering committee member of the National Disaster Medical System, the Southern Arizona DUI Task Force, Mental Health liaison for the Tucson Airport Authority Crisis Response Team and volunteer chaplain at University Medical Center. He converted his large home into a popular and eccentric bed and breakfast, forming lasting friendships with many guests.
Gellman was a frequent writer, speaker and trainer on issues of victimology, loss, grief and life choices. His op-ed articles appeared in the Arizona Daily Star, Tucson Citizen and Arizona Jewish Post. Twice he was nominated for a Jefferson Award for Public Service.
In 1990, Gellman published a book called "COPS: The Men and Women Behind the Badge," which followed a cohort of Tucson police cadets through training and their first year as sworn officers of the law. He made time to chronicle his own family history through more than 1,000 letters, oral histories, photos, film clips and videos encompassing six generations. He also taped interviews with his grandchildren for many years.
Gellman returned to his Philadelphia roots in 2009 to rekindle a relationship with an old flame, Mimi Kirk, who became his loving companion for the rest of his days. He took up volunteering with the Germantown-based Northwest Victim Services.
Gellman is survived by three children from his first marriage to Marcia Jacobs: Barton Gellman (Dafna Linzer), Alan Gellman (Arlene Zuckerberg) and Sheri Throlson (Brad Throlson); eight grandchildren (Abigail, Aron, Benjamin, Lily, Megan, Micah, Mira and Nicole); sister Barbara Kates; niece Mimi Kates; nephew Philip Kates (Pamela Kates); and a lifetime of special and loyal friends, especially Mimi, whose love spanned more than 40 years.
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