Gellerstedt, Mary

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Credit: File

Credit: File

GELLERSTEDT, Mary Duckworth Mary Duckworth Gellerstedt died peacefully on December 27, 2020. She was born and lived her early childhood in Cairo, Georgia. Her father William Henry Duckworth was born and raised in Blairsville, Georgia and her mother Williebelle Pilcher Duckworth was born and raised in Meigs, Georgia. Mary had frizzy blonde hair that could be tamed into ringlets but she often was found playing outside in the South Georgia red clay barefoot and hair awry. Her lifelong fear of birds began when a chicken got caught up in her tangled tresses clawing and scratching until released. Mary and her family moved to the Druid Hills neighborhood of Atlanta in 1938 when her father was elected to the Georgia Supreme Court. Mary attended Druid Hills School where, in her Senior year of high school, she began a friendship with her neighbor Lawrence Gellerstedt, Jr. It was the beginning of a love affair that spanned 65 years. Mary graduated in 1946 from Agnes Scott College. She taught elementary school in Atlanta immediately following her graduation while Lawrence was beginning his lifelong career at Beers Construction Company. Mary and Lawrence’s family grew in the years between 1948 and 1956 with the births of their three children, Dorothy Gayle (Gayle), Mary Ellen (Ellen) and Lawrence L. III (Larry). Mary was active in volunteering at First Presbyterian Preschool, Morris Brandon Elementary School and at Northside Drive Baptist Church. A skilled seamstress, Mary made most of the girls’ clothes including dress up wedding dresses and veils from Santa. Mary volunteered her time, energy and resources to the Atlanta community through service on the Boards of The Galloway School, The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra, Literacy Action and Planned Parenthood Southeast along with others. She led successful fundraising campaigns throughout the Metro Atlanta area for Piedmont Hospital, Hospice Atlanta and others. Mary was President of the Agnes Scott National Alumnae Association and served as a Trustee to the College. Mary volunteered with the Symphony Associates and with the Friends of Spellman. Mary received many community service awards including Agnes Scott’s Outstanding Alumnae to the College, 2016 In the Moment-a Celebration of Life by Hospice Atlanta, and the Human Relations Award given by the Institute of Human Relations of the American Jewish Committee. Mary is survived by her three children: Dorothy Gayle Gellerstedt (William J. Funk), Dr. Mary Ellen Gellerstedt (Gennaro Camelio) and Lawrence L. Gellerstedt, III (Carol Green Gellerstedt). Her pride and joy were her 9 grandchildren and her 17, soon to be 18, great grandchildren. She also loved her “bonus” grandchildren and great-grandchildren as they joined her family over the years. Other survivors include her sister Dorothy Duckworth Williams and her 4 children and her brother William Henry Duckworth, Jr., his wife Carol and their two children. Mary’s nephews and nieces were a source of great joy and friendship to her. Mary was cared for in her later years by the staff of Personal Care for whom she was client, friend and mentor. Patrice Clark, Valencia Almon, Beverly Danvers, Esther Michelle Donner and Alicia Honore are now members of the Gellerstedt extended family. Another extended family member is Laura Hardy, Mary’s “chosen” daughter who cared for and about Mary as only true family can. Mary’s ashes will be interred at a later date in Decatur Cemetery next to Lawrence. A family eulogy for Mary can be viewed at: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Oz6Oxp99WYixWJF0ruGcdj_AxU29IILxInohAilOGZ4/edit The family requests donations in Mary’s memory be made to: Agnes Scott College: Office of Development, Agnes Scott College,141 East College Avenue, Decatur 30033. Online at: give.agnesscott.ed. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra: 1280 Peachtree Street NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30309. Attention: Development Online: aso.org/give Children’s Healthcare Foundation. 1575 Northeast Expressway, Atlanta, Georgia 30309 Planned Parenthood Southeast: 241 Peachtree Street, Suite 400, Atlanta, Georgia 30303. Online at: give.classy.org/marygellerstedt. 📷 📷

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