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Looking Back With Lee – Remembering Pat Gellerman

By Lee Canalizo

From the archives of The Canine Chronicle June, 2012

This article will not be filled with bits and pieces of in-depth doggy facts… it’s just me remembering one of “the guys” I came to know in our wacky world of dogs.

Many of you will be familiar with Pat through her articles over the years in this very publication. Some will recognize her from showing to her in the ring. She was approved for five groups and was a very active judge, both here and abroad. Pat did love to share her world travel (almost to a fault) which she always incorporated with lots of sightseeing along with a dog show. Thank God she didn’t take lots of pictures… I would never have survived the evening.

Pat was an active breeder/owner of “Courtside” Boxers and Basset Hounds. The latter being where she made her mark and remained a true devotee of the breed. Her work for the Basset Hound breed and many clubs as a member lasted nearly half a century. I believe she was also closely associated with the PBGV breed as well. She was a charter member of the PBGV parent club and judged both breed Nationals if I recall, maybe more than once. Pat was a bright, sassy young lady who held positions with the Disney Company, the Bergan Record, and the New York Times (and other major firms) as a reporter or in their editing department.

I knew Pat when we were both local exhibitors in the Northeast. In those days, she was Pat Fellman, wife of Phil, her ophthalmologist husband. They had two daughters: Jane and Nancy. The kids didn’t follow her path into the world of dogs to the same degree or with the same enthusiasm as Pat. I know Nancy had Pat find her a good German Shorthaired Pointer who easily became a champion. Pat and Nancy also shared a love of tennis. Pat was an active player, and Nancy made a career in the sport. I recall some of the years that Pat joined us ­– Mike, Roger and me – at the U.S. Open Tennis matches. This was back in the day when Roger had box seats, and I could still climb stairs at Arthur Ashe Stadium! At about the same time, Pat and I, along with our husbands, moved from the Northeast to Florida, each settling on opposite coasts of the wonderful state of Florida.

We met regularly at shows we judged, and our friendship remained a close one. Maybe too close at times! We were gal pals, and both felt the need for someone to bounce things off. Fast forward to a swift “change of status” and soon, Pat Fellman became Pat Gellerman. We all just called her Pat Fell-Gell! I was happy she was happy, and her years with the handsome, smart, and charming Sol Gellerman were filled with lots of moves around the country. They moved from Florida to Texas to Colorado, not necessarily in that order. They were always going somewhere. Their international travel was extensive. He was in demand as a lecturer as he was a well-known author and expert in the business world, and she was an equally popular dog show judge.

Sadly this relationship met with a sudden end when Sol so unexpectedly died of complications from a routine surgical procedure. Pat was devastated. She literally immersed herself into her judging duties and tried her best to keep busy. She would eventually return to Florida, with the help of Michael (who, at that time, was in my area wanting to be close to me and Jim, who was not doing well at the time). Michael, as her real estate agent, found her a very cool home within a mile of me. Soon I too was a “dog show widow” with Jim’s passing, and when Mike left to take his position with AKC, Pat and I were their criss-crossing paths in town, at the airport, and shows. Pat was a welcome fixture at many family holidays, with my kids all being in the area. We did a lot together, we both liked the arts, and we shared/compared many opinions of/on many of the dogs we judged. Pat was a successful breeder/judge who dem-onstrated the talent of finding quality in most any breed she focused upon. Her intensity towards the process was legendary. There wasn’t a national specialty or judge’s education offered that she wouldn’t try to attend. I remember her most for her dedication to that, and maybe also for her equally extensive collection of St. Johns fashions… not that I ever envisioned myself in one of those fabulous suits… but on her petite frame, they always appeared very attractive and expensive!

The world of dogs made up Pat’s life. And she left her mark on our world. After many years of non-stop assignments, Pat was hit with some problems we all are destined to experience as we age. She boldly faced them head-on and kept up as best she could. There came a time she realized the time had come, and she retired from judging.

Pat stayed close to the fancy with her articles in The Canine Chronicle and through her legion of friends. I have many years of the special times we all would rather remember, and for that, I have the fondest thoughts of my friend Pat.

From the archives of The Canine Chronicle June, 2012

Short URL: https://caninechronicle.com/?p=198981

Posted by on Mar 22 2021. Filed under Dog Show History, Featured, Remembering Our Past?. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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