Murphy Funeral Homes

1102 West Broad Street, Falls Church, VA


Carolyn Mae Gelenter

April 14, 1928June 21, 2020

Mrs. Carolyn M. Gelenter, age 92, passed away peacefully on June 21, 2020 after a brief illness in Falls Church, Virginia. She was born in Terril, Iowa to James and Dessie Ballah and had an older sister Alice and a younger brother James. Carolyn grew up in Iowa and graduated from Estherville Junior College (1949) AA, Colorado State College (1953) BA, and Mankato State (1963) MS. Her 45 year educational career spanned across the United States and overseas in the DoD school system. She taught elementary school, physical education, and spent the last 20 years of her career at Sterling Middle School (1974-1993) as a guidance counselor. While serving as a DoD teacher at Clark AFB in the Philippines, she married Major Julian Gelenter, USAF, in 1966. They shared a life full of love, until his death in 2009. She is also preceded in death by her parents, sister, and brother. She is survived by her son Captain David (Joan) Gelenter, USN, Retired; daughters Lydia Gelenter and Elizabeth (Don) Poulin; grandchildren Andrew, Kathryn, Martin, and Lucien; great grandchildren Oliver, Eleanor, Charles, and Victoria; and 2 nieces and a nephew in the Terril Iowa area. Funeral Services will be at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Carolyn Mae Gelenter

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Joan Gelenter

June 29, 2020

I will definitely miss my mother-in-law, Carolyn. We enjoyed sharing stories of being “tough” Midwestern gals, and the love we had for our military husbands. She had such a youthful spirit. Her granddaughter loved her “cool” fashion. Her grandsons were impressed how she was always up to date on sports. In her final days, she mentioned she was “only 92”. I will always admire her for the family she raised. Recently she would ask me what David, Lydia, and Elizabeth thought about her. I would tell her that they definitely loved her and were all very concerned about her, and she would simply reply, “good!”. What more could a mother in her nineties ask for? Well done on a life well lived, Carolyn! ❤️😇