Geraldine (Gerry) Carleton, age 92
Gerry was born in Chicago in 1925, and in the late 1930s moved to California with her mother and brother. During the war she worked as a secretary at the Maritime Officer Training School in Alameda. She married Bob Carleton in 1947 and for the next 30 years lived in 10 different cities while her husband pursued his career as a chemical engineer.
During these years, Gerry pursued her own dreams of education and career. She earned an undergraduate degree from Whittier College, a Masters degree in History from the University of Houston, and a second Masters degree in African Studies from Northwestern University. Between her studies, she taught high school in Houston, Chicago, and Dusseldorf, Germany.
In 1977 Gerry and Bob made the decision to retire and build a house in Oakmont. The next 20 years were spent maintaining a large garden at their home, and traveling the world together. Gerry also dedicated many hours in service to the community. She joined the Luther Burbank Guild, the Santa Rosa Symphony League, the Saturday Afternoon Club, the Santa Rosa Welfare League, and the American Association of University Women (AAUW). Gerry was not only a member, she was chosen to be on the board of directors of each of these organizations, and accepted a term as president when asked.
She worked for the betterment of Oakmont and was elected twice as a member of the Oakmont Village Association (OVA) Board of Directors, and served one term as president. Sadly, her husband Bob died in 1998, and her only grandson, Matt, died in 2000. After Bob’s death she continued to work with community service organizations, and added time as a volunteer teacher for disadvantaged children in the Santa Rosa area.
At the age of 79, Gerry joined the Peace Corps and requested a two-year assignment in Africa. She was sent to teach middle school English in a small town in southern Namibia. During her time with the Peace Corps she contracted a lung disease and was forced to come home a few months before her two years were complete. She returned to Oakmont and resumed her work with community organizations. In particular, she loved the Christmas Unlimited program that was founded by the Santa Rosa Welfare League, and Tech Trek, a program for middle school girls that was created by a member of AAUW.
She passed away on Sept. 30. She is survived by her son Chuck, and his wife Bärbel. Gerry requested that her body be given to the University of California medical school, and asked that she be remembered by contributions to the Santa Rosa Welfare League Memorial Fund. A private family gathering is planned.