August 2001

Warren Gelman

by Joseph RADDER

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When Warren Gelman was inducted into the Nichols School Athletic Hall of Fame, they said, “You are our finest sportsman.”

Indeed, sports has been at the center of Warren B. Gelman’s life since childhood. Yet this accomplished attorney has many other achievements to his credit.

A partner in the law firm of McGee and Gelman, Warren studied law at the University at Buffalo Law School and was admitted to the Bar in 1970. Prior to establishing his own firm with Michael McGee, Warren Gelman spent one year at Kavinoky and Cook and 10 years at Saperston & Day where he was a partner. His specialties are estates, trusts, real property and corporate law.

Gelman did his undergraduate work at Yale, where he was captain of both an undefeated freshman hockey team and a very talented varsity squad. He graduated in 1967.

Warren Gelman’s love of sports was nurtured at Nichols School where he played soccer, hockey and baseball. His Nichols senior year soccer team was undefeated and one of the finest in the school’s history. He was also a co-captain of baseball, leading home-run hitter and hockey team captain.

Again quoting from the Nichols School Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony, it was said about his college sports accomplishments, “Amidst a career of highlights one stands out, as Warren Gelman led the Elis to their greatest ever hockey victory, a 4-3 overtime upset of eventual NCCA champion and otherwise undefeated Cornell before a stunned sell-out crowd in Ithaca.”

Sports is a family affair with the Gelmans. They all love golf, skiing and riding.

A major accomplishement was Warren’s founding of the Bison Youth hockey programs for girls. Today more than 100 girls, starting at age 8, are involved.

His three daughters, Sarah, Lisa and Susan have inherited his love of sports. Sarah, now Nichols School Alumni Director, is women’s hockey coach and Junior Varsity soccer coach. She played college hockey at Colby College and was co-captain of the team in her senior year.

Lisa is in her second year at UB Medical School. She did her undergraduate work at Tufts where she majored in chemical engineering.

Susan is in her Junior year at the University of Vermont at Burlington, majoring in early childhood education.

Warren’s wife, the former Patty Cohen, is one of his biggest boosters. Following our interview with Warren she provided a great deal of information that he modestly left out. Warren and Patty were married in 1972.

Warren Gelman’s awards and honors are too numerous to list here, but a few should be mentioned...the NCCJ Award for Volunteer Service to Youth and the J. Michael Duffett Award presented by the Buffalo Sabres for his tireless contributions to youth hockey. He was also awarded the Ned Matthias Award by the West Side Rowing Club. He is on the boards of Nichols School, the Boys and Girls Clubs of Buffalo and the Greater Buffalo Sports Hall of Fame.

The Gelman family’s love of sports came naturally. Warren’s mother, “was really the one who started it all,” Warren said. “She grew up in New York City and was an avid Yankee fan.” The senior Mrs. Gelman died in 1986.

His father, a retired real estate broker and developer, passed along the philosophy of life that Warren and his family live by today...”Work hard and treat others as you would like to be treated.”

Always a leader and a winner. Warren B. Gelman is another example of the strong personal character that makes the Buffalo/Niagara region great.

Joseph Radder is a freelance writer.


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