• "I love you. Rest In Peace sweetheart. We won't forget..."
    - Jennifer Link
  • "My deepest sympathy to Lueza's family. I did not meet Lueza..."
    - Maryellen Elcock
  • "Our deepest sympathy. Lueza was a pleasure to know. She was..."
  • "Sad to hear this news! Condolences to Richard, John and..."
    - Joe Lufkin
  • "Unfortunately I was unaware of Lueza's passing until today..."

GELB--Lueza Thirkield.

Died peacefully on February 7th at home surrounded by family after a long illness. She was 84. Born May 8, 1931, in Plainfield, NJ, she was a daughter of E.B. and Constance Thirkield (Harris). She is survived by her husband of 63 years, Bruce S. Gelb. The couple met in 1951 when she was maid-of-honor and he was best man at his brother's wedding. A graduate of Wells College, she raised four children before earning a doctorate in history from Columbia University. She taught at Pace University and Marymount-Manhattan College. She also lectured on European history to the United States diplomatic community in Brussels while her husband served as Ambassador to Belgium under George H.W. Bush. An expert skier and sailor, she was the author of "Schroon Lake," an award- winning memoir of her childhood in the Adirondacks. Survivors include her children, John (Sherry), Jody (Jacek Jarkowski), Richard and Connie (Scott Otteman); grandchildren, Nathaniel, John Jr. (Morgana), Serena, Dora and Daniel; brother, Dwight Thirkield; nieces and nephews, Larry (Anki), Lucy (Frank Sisto), Jane and Jimmy (Jenny); Mario, Joe, Mary Jo, Connie, Rose, Sal and John; Wes and Tim. She was predeceased by her nephew, Kenneth Thirkield, sister, Mary Belle DiGrazia, brother-in-law, Richard L. Gelb, cherished granddaughter, Lueza Jarkowski, and daughter-in-law, Tana. A prolific journaler, she donated her private papers to the Schlesinger Library in Cambridge, MA. A funeral service will be held at The Church of the Heavenly Rest at 2 East 90th Street on Friday, February 12th at 11am. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Lueza's memory to Citymeals on Wheels or The Wild Center at Tupper Lake, NY The family would like to thank Barbara Neary, Catherine Higgins, Mary Clarke, Lara Dobrovolsky, Rena Iljavi and Carmel Seymour for their compassionate care.

Religious Service Information
Church of the Heavenly Rest
2 E 90th St
New York, NY 10128
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Published in The New York Times on Feb. 9, 2016