Madelyn Gehling

December 20, 1917 ~ October 9, 2018 (age 100)

Madelyn “Madge” Virginia Gehling (nee Brown), 100, died October 9, 2018 in the presence of her loved ones at her home at Scott-Farrar in Peterborough, NH.  Born December 20, 1917 in Mansfield, MA to Herbert and Edwina (nee Sibley) Brown, Madge was raised in Ashland, MA.

In 1939, she entered the Jackson School for Women at Tufts University in Medford, MA, graduating in 1943 with a Bachelor of Arts in English.  While at Tufts, she met her beloved John Adam Gehling, a young engineering student. The two married in 1943, only weeks before John would enter the US Navy to serve in the Pacific Theater during World War 2.  After the war, Madge and John lived in Cambridge, MA so John could earn his MBA at Harvard Business School, which was conferred on him in 1947.

As Madge and John built their family, ultimately raising 8 children, they moved several times during their 72 years of marriage. After living in Shaker Heights, OH, Wayne, PA, Chagrin Falls, OH, and Lloyd Harbor, NY, they settled for 43 years in Cascade, MI.  In 2013, they moved to New Hampshire to be closer to family. Three years later, Madge’s beloved John, 95, died in Durham, NH.

When Madge was not busy caring for her well-loved children, she served on various boards in the communities where she lived. She also drove for the blind and helped senior citizens with filing their taxes.  She was an active member of the Investors Clubs of America, a communicant at St. Robert of Newminster Parish in Ada, MI, and a loyal sponsor and treasurer of the Kent County Cascade (MI) Public Library.

Proudly committed to her family, Madge enjoyed decades of summer vacations with her children, and later her grandchildren and great-children, at the family cottage in Eastham, MA. She was an avid reader of history and politics, and was often seen with a newspaper in hand. She was also a puzzle enthusiast, particularly The New York Times crossword, which she did in pen. She also enjoyed traveling with John and their children.  She frequently attended the symphony in Grand Rapids, and played golf at the Cascade Country Club, where she and John were members.

Madge attributed her astonishing length of life with nary a health problem to walking, which she did with great discipline, and “maybe an occasional glass of Chardonnay.”  Ever quick with a well-aimed opinion, she was a woman of tremendous strength and dignity, bearing both to the last hours of her life, her great poise and charming wit showing to the very end. Strong in her convictions and certain of herself, Madge instilled in her children a belief they could succeed in anything they pursued. Her grandchildren, too, were blessed by this same confidence: whenever they spoke to their grandmother of their goals and future plans they were certain to hear her say, with a bright smile, “That sounds wonderful! I am so happy to hear that!”

Madge, particularly when John was still alive, made every effort to attend each graduation and wedding, and to commemorate every birthday and anniversary, of all her grandchildren, who are now serving as parents, educators, actors, writers, poets, craftsmen, cowboys, horticulturists, forest managers, golf pros, architects, hoteliers, marketers, chefs, human service coordinators, adventure-tour guides, and in many other ways.

At Scott-Farrar, where she moved in 2016 to be closer to her daughter Jane, Madge developed close bonds with the residents and staff there, many of whom she loved dearly.

Madge is survived by Nancy (Gehling) and Russell Duvernoy, of Eastham, MA, Virginia (Gehling) and Eric Collins, of Dayton, WY, Jane (Gehling) and William Gnade, of Hancock, NH; John Gehling and Suzanne Fessenden, of Rio Rancho, NM, William and Susan Gehling, of Londonderry, NH, James and Julie Gehling, of Greensboro, NC, and Timothy and Ruth Gehling, of Lee, NH. Son-in-law Cliff Murray, husband to Madge’s firstborn Martha Gehling, who died in 2012 of ALS, resides in Hamilton, NY.

She is also survived by 27 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren; and nieces and nephews.

A granddaughter, Rebecca Gehling, died in 2011 in a Londonderry fire, along with her mother, Madge's daughter-in-law, Fran Gehling.

In lieu of flowers, the family gratefully suggests donations in Madge’s memory to The ALS Association, 1275 K Street NW, Suite 250, Washington, DC 20005; or to the National Aphasia Association, POB 87, Scarsdale, NY 10583.

Services are tentatively planned for Spring 2019 in Goddard Chapel at Tufts University, Medford, MA.


© 2019 Jellison Funeral home. All Rights Reserved. Funeral Home website by CFS