Gerda Doelling to celebrate
90th birthday on Dec. 17
Gerda Scherwinski Doelling will reach her 90th birthday on Dec. 17. She was born in Ebling, West Prussia, Germany, in 1930, and had a rough beginning getting through World War II. Her homeland was turned over to Poland after the war and as a refugee with her family she moved to Wolfsgrün in East Germany, then to Langen, in West Germany and finally to Salt Lake City July 4, 1953.
She was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 1939 in the Thien River near Elbing. German soldiers waiting to invade Poland watched—the war started the very next day on Sept. 1, 1939.
After coming to Salt Lake City she got a job at the LDS Genealogical Society, earned her Golden Gleaner Award, and returned to Germany as a missionary. After that she married Hellmut Doelling in the Salt Lake Temple and in 10 years had seven children. Hellmut was a geologist and constantly in the field, so the work of raising them fell to her.
All the kids learned to speak German fluently and four were sent to German LDS speaking missions. They earned three Eagle Scout Awards and two of her kids were Sterling Scholars. Her kids also earned two Ph.Ds, one master and four bachelor degrees.
Every year with the kids she raised a garden, picked fruit, milked goats and took care of chickens. Although her husband taught them how to play the piano and organ, she was the one to get them to practice. All but one served as ward organist or accompanist.
She was also called to lead a new extraction program in her stake in Centerville. She was responsible for extracting about a quarter of a million names. She continues to index on her own and has helped countless members with their German ancestry.
After 30 years in Centerville, the kids grew up and married, moved away to raise their own families, and she moved to Manti with her husband. She served as a successful ward missionary and then served in the Manti Temple as an ordinance worker for about 22 years. She has 23 grandkids and four great-grandkids.
If you have enjoyed knowing Gerda, congratulate her on her birthday. There will be no open-house, but give her a call at 835-3651. She is a very special person.