I was deeply saddened to hear the news of Ms. Gellis' passing. My love of reading historical romances can be traced back to Roberta Gellis. She had a way of transporting the reader to another time and making them believe in her stories. She had an amazing ability to create the period atmosphere; from the details of the clothes, the society, the historical figures and the living conditions, she gave the reader the experience of being a part of the time period. Her characters truly came to life on the page. I am so thankful for the wonderful memories of those books and the love of the genre they instilled in me.
Condolences to Ms. Gellis' family and the readers who loved her.
Ms. Gellis' obituary from Legacy.com
The soul of Roberta Gellis departed this life and was reunited with the Creator of the Universe on May 6, 2016. Roberta was born on September 27, 1927, in Brooklyn, New York City, the daughter of Dr. Morris B. Jacobs and Margaret (Segall) Jacobs. She graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in Brooklyn, NY. She received a B.S. in Chemistry from Hunter College of the City University of New York in 1947 and a M.S. in Biochemistry from Brooklyn Polytechnic University in 1952. She worked both as a freelance scientific copy editor and as a research chemist for Foster D. Snell for many years, where she and her inventing partner developed aerosolized shaving foam and pink hair dye, among other creations, before she entered a second career as a best-selling author.
Starting with Knight's Honor in 1964, Roberta was the author of nearly fifty novels. These included more than twenty historical romances, including the Roselynde Chronicles and the Heiress Series, a number of medieval murder mysteries, and several historical fantasies. Other novels ranged from space opera to gothic romance to a mystery featuring the much-maligned Lucrezia Borgia as an amateur detective. She mostly wrote under her own name, but occasionally wrote as Max Daniels, Leah Jacobs, and Priscilla Hamilton. She won numerous awards for her writing, including a 1983 award from Romantic Times for Best Historical Series and a 1996 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Romance Writers of America. She married her high school sweetheart Charles Gellis on April 14, 1946, in Brooklyn, NY. They were married for 68 years. He preceded her in death on November 17, 2014. They resided for many years in Roslyn Heights, New York, before moving to Lafayette, Indiana, and then to Flushing, Michigan.
Roberta loved animals and was an enthusiastic supporter of animal rescue and animal charities. She had several canine companions during her lifetime, including Airedales, Welsh Terriers, Lakeland Terriers, Scottish Terriers, and West Highland Terriers. Roberta is survived by her son Dr. Mark Gellis, daughter-in-law Sandra Brown Gellis, and her granddaughter Elizabeth Gellis, all of Flushing, MI. In keeping with Jewish tradition, the family requests no flowers, but memorial donations may be made to Westie Rescue Michigan (http://westierescue-mi.com/). As per Roberta's wishes, no funeral will be held. A private burial service will be held at Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly, MI, and conducted by Congregation Beth Israel President Leonard Meizlish, on a future date. The family would like to thank Right at Home and Reverence Hospice and special friends Catherine, Vicky, Lisa, and Cathy.