Bernard Shelan (né Shelansky) passed away Wednesday night, Nov. 21, at the age of 96 from natural causes. He was born in St. Louis, MO to Charles and Rae Shelansky and raised in South Philadelphia and Roscoe, Texas. A local football star, Bernie “The Mouse” Shelansky—in spite of his small stature—was awarded a football scholarship to Abilene Christian College, where he graduated in 1938 with a B.S. Degree in Physical Training and set a new kickoff return record that remained in tact for 20 years. Bernie served in the Army Air Corps during WWII and—with his wife, Sylvia—assumed ownership of the family business, Shelansky’s Dry Goods in Roscoe Texas. Bernie was a volunteer firefighter for 18 years, a member of the Lions Club, a former Shriners President (1966) and a 32nd degree Mason and a lifelong member of the Elks Club. Bernie and Sylvia retired to Abilene, TX in 1979, where they were longtime members of Temple Mizpah and eventually settled in Longview, TX in 1993, where they became active members of Temple Emanu-El. Bernie was admired by friends and family for his strength of character and will.
Bernie was preceded in death by his parents, Charles and Rae; and two brothers, Harold and Bobby.
Bernie is survived by Sylvia Shelan, his wife of 69 years; his sons and daughters-in-law, Ronald and Lillian Shelan of Santa Rosa, CA, Charles and Norma Shelan of Olympia, WA and Evan and Debbie Shelan of Longview, TX; his granddaughters, Naomi Shelan and Rick Dell’Ara of San Francisco, CA, Lillian and Casey Berman of San Francisco, CA, Aliza Shelan of San Francisco, CA, Ashleah Shelan of Los Angeles, CA, Heather and Tim Cole of Melbourne, Australia, Erin and Wade Skinner of Tyler, TX and Stephanie and Doni Katz of Berkeley, CA; and his four great-grandchildren, Jonathan, Madeline, Secoya, and Jethro.
A graveside service was held for Bernard Shelan at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 25, at Congregation Shearith Israel Cemetery on Dolphin Road in Dallas, TX with Rabbi Heidi Coretz officiating.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Bernie’s name to the Shiner’s Hospital, Temple Emanu-El in Longview, TX, or the charity of your choice.