Irving "Sheik"'s Story
Irving “Sheik” Phillip Karelis, 96, a lifelong Haverhill resident, passed away on May 25 at Hannah Duston Healthcare where he had been a resident since 2011.
He was born in Haverhill on July 29, 1920, the son of the late Max and Annie (Stoleski) Karelis.
Mr. Karelis was educated in the Haverhill school system and graduated from Haverhill High School in 1938, the Tilton School in 1939, and from the University of New Hampshire in 1943 where he was a standout star athlete at all three schools. Mr. Karelis was named to the Tilton School Baseball Hall of Fame and to the University of New Hampshire Baseball Hall of Fame as well.
It was at the University of New Hampshire where he still holds the school record of starting, finishing, and winning both ends of a double header against the University of Maine. That feat happened only a few days before he enlisted in the United States Navy where he became a star pitcher for the Navy at Sampson, N.Y.
At the end of World War II, Sheik was signed by the Boston Red Sox farm team where he played for the Lynn Red Sox for two years before retiring and starting Karelis Jewelers which he owned and operated for 40 years.
He was the husband of the late Eleanor “Ellie” (Seligman) Karelis who passed away in 2011. He is survived by step-daughters, Wendy (Gorevitz) Boswell and her husband, Tom, and Anita (Gorevitz) Ryan and her husband, Mark; grandfather to Russell Boswell; as well as seven nephews and one niece.
He was predeceased by his siblings, Bernice Berman, Blanch Felser, Lester Karelis, and Saul Karelis.
At the family’s request, services will be private with interment in the Children of Israel Cemetery, Haverhill. Arrangements are by the H.L. Farmer & Sons Funeral Homes, Haverhill and Bradford. Contributions in his memory may be made to the Karelis Family Fund at Temple Emanu-El, 514 Main St., Haverhill, MA 01830.
To share a memory or for more information, please visit www.farmerfuneralhomes.com.
Published on  May 27, 2017