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1920 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
GEHLING, John Adam 95, of Durham, NH (formerly of Cascade, MI), died peacefully with family at his side April 22, 2016. Born July 23, 1920 in Boston, MA, he was the son of Richard B. and Hazel A. (Dyson) Carlton. After his mother remarried, he was adopted by D. Chester Gehling. Raised in Newton, MA, John attended Tufts University ('43), taking a BS in mechanical engineering. After graduation, he married Madelyn ("Madge") Virginia Brown, whom he met at Tufts, and then immediately served as a lieutenant on the U.S.S. Cogswell, a Navy destroyer, which toured the Pacific theater in World War II. After the war, John earned his MBA from Harvard Business School ('47). His career as a business executive spanned more than 4 decades. Having worked for Harris Intertype, AMF, and White Consolidated, he ended his career with Electrolux. His affable and gentlemanly manner served him admirably as he focused his attention on relations between labor and management; his work took him around the world. He and his wife lived in Chagrin Falls, OH before moving to Lloyd Harbor, NY. After having 8 children, they moved to Cascade, MI where he became a member of the Cascade Hills Country Club, serving a term as club president. In 1971, he and his wife became communicants at St. Robert of Newminster Parish, in Ada, MI. A gifted athlete, John enjoyed golf and tennis, and brought his enthusiasm for sportsmanship to coaching local youth sports teams. He also served as a school board member in NY. Upon his retirement, he volunteered for God's Kitchen, a Grand Rapids, MI soup kitchen and Meals On Wheels program. His work was honored in 2008 with a Humana Starlight Award. Earlier he received a Career Achievement Award from the Tufts University engineering school. In 2013, he and Madge moved to Spruce Wood Senior Living in Durham to be closer to family. John's one true love was his wife and the family they made together. He particularly enjoyed his yearly summer vacations at the family cottage on Cape Cod. Always quick with a smile and eager to make friends even among strangers, John made everyone around him feel special. Even as his mind gave way to progressive aphasia, he still managed to make family, friends, and even Spruce Wood staff members, laugh with the joy and love of life. John is survived by Madge, his wife of 72 years; Nancy (Gehling) and Russell Duvernoy, of Hamilton, NY, Virginia (Gehling) and Eric Collins, of Crowheart, WY, Jane (Gehling) and William Gnade, of Hancock, NH; John Gehling and Suzanne Fessenden, of Oyster Bay, NY, 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 John's firstborn Martha Gehling, who died in 2012 of ALS, resides in Hamilton, NY. He is also survived by 27 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. One granddaughter, Rebecca Gehling, died in 2011 in a Londonderry fire, along with her mother, John's daughter-in-law, Fran Gehling. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the MA/NH chapter of the , 480 Pleasant Street, Watertown, MA, 02472; or God's Kitchen, 303 Division Ave S, Grand Rapids, MI, 49503. A memorial service will be held June 11 at Tufts University, Medford, MA. Details will be announced later. Purdy Funeral Service of DOVER, NH is assisting the family with arrangements, To sign our online guestbook, please go to

Published in The Boston Globe on Apr. 30, 2016
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