Bernard Gelson, who pioneered upscale grocery shopping in Southern California as the co-founder of Gelson's Markets, has died. He was 84.
Gelson, who had been in failing health, died Monday of pneumonia at his home in Encino, said his wife, Ellyn.
Gelson was born in Sioux City, Iowa, on Jan. 29, 1920. He and his younger brother, Eugene, learned the grocery business from their parents, who ran a small store.
The family moved to Southern California when Gelson was a teenager and settled in Monterey Park, where his parents again ran a small market.
Gelson graduated from Alhambra High School and served as an instructor in the Army Air Forces during World War II.
After the war, the Gelson brothers opened a small grocery in Tujunga and then moved the store to North Hollywood. In 1951, they opened an upscale supermarket in Burbank that featured top-quality meats, produce and groceries and offered a high level of service.