Sorry to be the bearer of sad tidings, but Herbert Gelb, our old Friend in the Dhamma, congenial companion in Life, and Companion in Suffering passed away this morning at 4AM in Los Angeles.
April 17, 1931 – May 25, 2012
I accompanied Herb back to the USA on April 10. Several times during the trip he commented: “I’m SO happy that Glenn and Kathryn are willing to receive me!”
Herb had been suffering from increased physical problems and loss of memory his last months in Bangkok. It did not work out that Glenn and Kathryn were able to have Herb stay with them long-term at their home in Modesto, so he transferred to a Southern California facility. Sorry to say that I never had the opportunity to speak to Herb again, and was not aware that his physical situation was declining ever more rapidly and drastically. Apparently the cancer that he had had treated when it manifested in his bladder spread widely throughout his body and overwhelmed him. His niece Alberta and her son Robbie took care of Herb and other nieces and nephews were able to visit Herb before he passed away.
Herb is remembered for his radiant smile and good-natured disposition, his probing questions at Dhamma talks, and his keen insight into the psychological makeup of humans. I recall how he said that he had frequently put in unpaid overtime at work – willingly and with a smile.
PS Kindly forward this note to any of Herb’s friends whose e-mail address I lack. Thanks.
Herb was one of our most regular Dhamma friends. In fact, he is one of the first I got to know from the WFB over a decade ago. He got very hard of hearing, and often could not hear the dhamma talks – but he said that did not really matter, he’d come anyway. He also got hard of memory, but he figured that he understood things when he heard them and that was enough.
Herb was always genial and joyful. Right up to his last months. Metta to you Herb.