Cover photo for Harold Eli Gelfond's Obituary
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Harold

Harold Eli Gelfond

Harold Eli Gelfond, age 87, reached the end of his wonderful life on December 8, 2023, surrounded by family at his home in Bristow, Virginia.

Born in Brooklyn, New York on August 30, 1936, to Russian Jewish emigrants Ruth and Nathan, along with his big sister Sylvia, Harold (Hal) formed his strong work ethic early, helping out in his family’s soda shop. He attended the City College of New York on an ROTC scholarship, where he was Lieutenant Colonel of the prestigious Pershing Rifles Company A-8.  Following graduation, Hal was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the United States Army, where he served a combined twelve years – both on active duty and as a Reservist – honorably discharged as a Captain in 1969. Hal continued his education, earning his MS at the University of Tennessee and completing a fellowship in the Center for Advanced Engineering Study at MIT, among other post-graduate pursuits at The American University and Guilford College. 

From Tennessee, Hal commenced his 37-year career with the U.S. Army as a civilian Information Systems Specialist in Northern Virginia, where he met his first wife, Doris, who unfortunately lost a battle with breast cancer very young. Fate then brought him to his beloved wife Helen with whom he raised his three beautiful children Natalie, Karen and David. After losing Helen to cancer in 2004, Hal was blessed to find love again with his wife Mary. 

A devoted man of faith, Hal shared his rich Jewish traditions and customs through family Zoom Sunday school lessons and Seders, thoughtfully prepared words to his temple congregations and bi-weekly Judaism classes for his community. In one of his proudest moments, he stood with his grandson, Wesley, three weeks ago as he became a Bar Mitzvah. 

With a strong calling to serve, Hal also found time to help his community through leadership positions at his various congregations (most notably as the President of Beth El Congregation in Winchester, VA), by volunteering at swim meets, participating in Neighborhood Watch, joining community associations, serving as treasurer of his local Elks Club, tutoring adult education students and most recently helping to organize his retirement community’s library. 

 

Hal was known for his passion for classical music, Broadway musicals, all things history and learning.  Recently Hal learned to play chess and enjoyed keyboard lessons. Hal was a patient teacher humbly sharing his wisdom with all who knew him, most lovingly with his kids and grandkids who affectionately called him a “walking encyclopedia.” 

Hal was a sports enthusiast for all sports but especially baseball from the time he rode the subway as a boy to Ebbets field to cheer on Jackie Robinson and the Brooklyn Dodgers, to attending Cal Ripken Jr.’s historic final game at Oriole Park with his son-in-law, to many cherished afternoons with his son at Nationals Park and to his grandkids little league fields.  He was the biggest fan of his grandkids in their sports and activities, watching livestreams when he could. There’s even a little league field in Sugar Land, Texas named after him to honor his love for the game. 

Hal was preceded in death by his parents, sister Sylvia and his late wives Doris and Helen. Hal is survived by his wife of 18 years, Mary, and his three adoring children— Natalie (Joel) Anderson, Karen Gelfond (Tom Cimino), and David (Janine) Gelfond and by stepchildren Michele (David) Boyer, William (Alice) Squires, and Christopher Squires.

Hal would do anything for his family and especially relished moments with his grandchildren Hannah, Samantha, Hunter, Jackson, Eliza and Mia Anderson; Malaya, Max, Bo and Ty Cimino; and Wesley, Aubrey, Morgan and Kyle Gelfond.  Hal was also a loving step-grandfather to Michael, Rane and Evan Squires and Katie and Joseph Boyer. 

Hal’s presence will forever be missed, but his spirit will live on in the hearts of all who had the privilege of loving him.

A memorial service will be held to honor Harold’s life on Thursday, December 14 at 10:30 a.m. at Temple Rodef Shalom, 2100 Westmoreland St, Falls Church, VA, 22043. Burial will follow at King David Memorial Gardens 2712 Hollywood Rd, Falls Church, Virginia, 22043.

In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations in Harold’s honor to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (https://givenow.lls.org) or to The Jewish Federation’s Israel Crisis Relief Fund (https://www.shalomdc.org/israel-at-war-2023/).

The family will sit Shiva on Thursday evening at 7 pm at the home of his son, David Gelfond.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Harold Eli Gelfond, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Memorial Service

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Starts at 10:30 am (Eastern time)

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Interment

Thursday, December 14, 2023

Starts at 12:00 pm (Eastern time)

King David Memorial Gardens

7482 Lee Highway, Falls Church, VA 22042

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