Paul Gelb of Palm Beach Gardens passed away on March 30, 2013. Paul was born in Budapest, Hungary on the high holy day of Yom Kippur, September 14, 1937 to Elizabeth Fricher Gelb and Lejos Gelb. He was one of the youngest survivors of the Holocaust.
Paul attended the Budapest Real Gymnasium in 1955 and graduated from Innsbrook High School in Austria in 1957. He received in B.S. degree in Business and Education in 1961, and his Masters in Sports Science and Education in 1962 from the University of Vienna, Austria. He was a doctoral candidate in the faculty of philosophy in 1962-1963 and also graduated from the Culinary Institute of Vienna in Graz and had his internship for the Master of Culinary Art at Linz in 1963.
While attending school Paul wrestled for the PAL in Hungary and was a competitor in many countries throughout Europe. He was an Olympian in the 1960 Olympics in Rome. He won multiple Hungarian and Austrian championships. He was named best European World Wrestler in the Bantam Weight division. He was also named champion of champions from the World Wrestling Federation in 1962.
In 1963, Paul emigrated to the United States with only $38.00. From 1963-1970 he took a job at Montclair Community Hospital in New Jersey as a cook, while learning English. Through 1970-1975, Paul worked for a congregate feeding site for the elderly in Elizabeth, New Jersey, and was instrumental in establishing the first Meals on Wheels program in the United States and became its first director at that time.
From 1976-1978, he worked as a Food Service Director at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Elizabeth, New Jersey. At that time, he was named president of the Food Service Directors Association in New Jersey. From 1978-1983, Paul was the Food Service Director at St. Peter's Hospital in New Brunswick, New Jersey. All during the time was employed, he also owned his own catering business called PG Food Management in which he contracted with the United States government for many congregate feeding sites for the elderly. After recovery from bypass surgery, Paul moved to Florida in 1986. He took another Food Service Director job for Humana Hospital West Palm Beach until 1990.
In 1989, Paul founded and coached the Kicks Youth Soccer Club in Palm Beach Gardens, which he ran from that time until 2002. His first team was organized from the kids that attended the after school program, The Kids Place, that he founded and ran with his wife Patricia. With the teams, he won multiple state championships, and was the team winner in the 1996 Youth USA World Cup. In 1999, Paul was the recipient of Coach of the Year by the Florida Youth Sports Association. He coached for the Suncoast High School in Riviera Beach, from 1994-1996, and was named Coach of the Year from the Florida High School Athletics Association in 1996. In 1998, Paul was able to lead his team to win the FIFA Fair Play Award and also win the Region III South National Championship in US Youth Soccer. He also led his team in winning international championships. Through tournaments and scrimmages, his teams were able to play and defeat youth teams from Russia, Germany, Mexico, Guatemala, New Zealand, and Brazil. He retired from coaching in the 2002-2003 soccer season, after helping his son, David, and many of his players receive college scholarships.
Paul will always be remembered as an active community leader, the one to go to, the man in charge, the boss, and head coach. Paul loved food, sports, and most of all his family. Surviving him are his wife, Patricia, son David and his wife Annick, and cousins Ronnie, Sandra, and Yvette, as well as many other extended family members.
Services 12 noon Thursday, April 4th at Star of David Cemetery and Funeral Chapel of the Palm Beaches, 9321 Memorial Park Road, West Palm Beach, Fl 561-627-2277. Donations amy be made to your Favorite Charity. The Gelb Family will be receiving friends at the Gelb residence, 4604 Square Lake Drive, Palm Beach Gardens immediately following the service on Thursday.