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Statement from President Trainor Regarding Death of George R. Gelles

George R. Gelles, C’64, who embodied the Mount’s mission of living a life of significance in service to God and others as a student, long-time beloved employee and valued community member, has died. George passed away last night after suffering a heart attack earlier this week. In receiving the Simon Bruté Medal in 2014, George, who served as an administrator at the Mount for 39 years, was described as “a distinguished alumnus whose life and professional career in many ways mirror the attributes of the Mount’s Angel Guardian” the Rev. Simon Gabriel Bruté: an amiable personality, extensive learning, selfless service to others and devotion to the Mount. George also received the Sisters of St. Francis Award in 2001; the award honored Mount employees who lived the mission of the university both at work and at home.

gelles,george.jpgIn his gospel, St. Luke writes that Jesus told his disciples, “The harvest indeed is great, but the laborers are few. Pray therefore the Lord of harvest to send forth laborers into His harvest.” George accepted Our Lord’s challenge, living it every day of his life as he devoted himself to his family, university, Church and community. George’s Catholic faith was his moral and ethical compass as he served as assistant dean of students, dean of students, director of college and student affairs, and director of auxiliary services.

George had an impact on the lives of countless students and members of the Mount community. As dean of students for more than a decade, he played a pivotal role in the transition of the college from all-male to coeducational and organized Habitat for Humanity, Maryland Special Olympics (still going strong 31 years later) and other service opportunities. In his role as director of auxiliary services, he served as events and logistics manager for commencement and other special events held on campus such as the VII Joint International Commission for Theological Dialogue Between the Catholic Church and Orthodox Church. Church leaders did not resolve their differences, but they agreed that George’s work was outstanding.

When George retired in 2006, he remained a benefactor to the Mount as executive vice president of the National Alumni Association and as a member of the President’s Council. He also gave selflessly to local communities through his work with St. Anthony Shrine in Emmitsburg, St. Francis Xavier Roman Catholic Church in Gettysburg, United Way of Frederick County (MD) and Adams County (PA), and Knights of Columbus/Mount Council.

Please join me in praying for the repose of George’s soul and for his wife Terri, their children Gregory, Christine, C’92, and Amy, seven grandchildren, including Kayleigh (Gelles) Smarrelli, C’09, and three great grandchildren.

Funeral services are being arranged by the Monahan Funeral Home, Gettysburg, PA..  A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Tuesday, October 15 at 11 a.m. at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, Gettysburg.  Interment is at Mount St. Mary's Cemetery following mass.  

The family has established a Mount scholarship in George’s memory. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Mount St. Mary's University, Office of Advancement, 16300 Old Emmitsburg Road, Emmitsburg, MD 21727 or online at www.msmary.edu/give. Please indicate George Gelles Scholarship.