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ENCINO, Calif.--Bernard M. Gelson, co-founder of the supermarket chain that bore his name, died Monday of pneumonia at his Encino home. He was 84.
Along with his late brother, Eugene, Gelson opened a Gelson's supermarket at Victory Boulevard and Hollywood Way in Burbank in July 1951.
Jack Brown, chairman of Stater Brothers, another family-held California-based supermarket chain, was quoted in the L.A. Daily News as saying, "In the 1950s and 1960s, Gelson's was considered the premier supermarket. The quality of the store, the quality of the merchandise and the people were unmatched. Bernie saw the customers as guests in his home. It was his way of life."
The Gelson brothers sold their market in the late 1960s, but Bernard Gelson ran the company as president and c.e.o. for the next 20 years. He retired in 1988.
Gelson was born on Jan. 29, 1920, in Sioux City, Iowa. His family moved in 1937 to Monterey Park, where his father owned a small grocery store. Gelson taught basic training in the Army Air Corps during World War II. He lived in Hollywood for a time before moving to Chatsworth in the mid-1960s and later lived in Encino after his second marriage and was a member of Sinai Temple in Los Angeles.
In addition to his wife, Gelson is survived by his children Jessica and Joseph; stepchildren Jill Feinstock, Joelle Mertzel and Jordan Feinstock; and a sister, Dorothy Rivin.
A funeral will be held at noon Thursday at Mount Sinai Memorial Park, 5950 Forest Lawn Drive, Los Angeles. Memorial donations may be made to Vista del Mar, 3200 Motor Ave., Los Angeles, CA 90034; or Jewish Vocational Service, 6505 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048.