Remembering The Great Leona Grell

Leona Grell was one of those bigger-than-life personalities in Chelsea that could light up a room with her smile and ignite a crowd with her energy.

Some remember Leona for her work at local banking institutions. Many recall her outstanding service to the Chelsea Jewish Nursing Home, working alongside executive director Barry Berman, one of the most outstanding and innovative nursing home administrators in the country.

And there are hundreds of Chelsea residents past and present who remember Leona Grell as the chairperson of the annual Grand Chelsea Reunion that was held in Florida.

Leona made everyone feel welcomed at those reunions. The events were so well organized and everyone had such a great time they couldn’t wait for the next Grand Reunion.

It’s a credit to Leona that she kept the tradition of Chelsea alive through these fun-filled and festive gatherings  held in the winter months in sunny Florida. And the best thing was that Leona seemed to enjoy the reunions as much as the guests did, personally greeting at the door former Chelsea residents who had traveled from all parts of Florida and all regions of the country to be in attendance.

More than 500 guests attended some of the reunions, a credit to the diligent efforts of Leona and her committee.

It is unlikely there will be any more Grand Chelsea Reunions in Florida, at least not in the magnitude and grandeur of Leona’s events. It won’t be the same without Leona Grell at the helm.

Leona Grell brought joy to so many people. She was personable, charismatic, stylish, a woman of intergrity and honor who exhibited a genuine warmth to all in her presence.

We will miss Leona Grell, a true Chelsea legend whose friendship and zest for life will always be remembered.

We join the community in extending our condolences to the Grell family.

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