Dora V. Gerken
Obituary for Dora Vernon Gerken
Dora Vernon Gerken, 87, died October 31, 2021 in Dallas, TX.
Dora was born April 14, 1934 in Boston, Massachusetts to Raymond and Leeler (Hales) Udall.
Raised in Arlington, Massachusetts, Dora graduated from MacMurray College for Women in
1956 with a BA in English. That same year, on August 11, she married George Gerken.
Dora had a deep love of learning and a passion for teaching. Though forced to stop teaching
middle school English while pregnant with her first child, she became in a sense a “professional
volunteer.” She continued to teach Sunday school and was instrumental in developing
preschools for underserved families. She dedicated herself to Amnesty International to
campaign for the humane treatment of political prisoners. She also worked tirelessly for the
League of Women Voters to promote social and environmental justice for all. Later in life, she
went back to school and started her own successful word processing business.
She loved the natural world and the environment, working with her husband to turn their 80-acre
property in Arkansas into a recognized tree farm. She also became a certified Master Gardener
and used that knowledge to cultivate a beautiful sustainable home garden and wildlife habitat.
Among her many hobbies, she was a gifted pianist, and her family loved listening to her play,
especially at holidays.
When her husband became ill, Dora was committed to caring for him at home, and once again
developed a new set of skills to take on this latest challenge. Dora will be remembered by her
family as a deeply caring, intellectually curious person passionate about making the world a
better place for her family and community. She was possibly the rare Bernie Sanders supporter
older than the man himself.
She is survived by her children and their spouses; Chris and Kay Gerken; Cindy and Erik
Schlanger; and her grandchildren; Karen, Tom, Steve, Jake and Lilah.
A memorial service will be held on December 4, 2021 at First Unitarian Church of Dallas.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the World Wildlife Fund, the American Civil
Liberties Union (ACLU) or the Ozark Society Foundation.
World Wildlife Fund Donation
Ozark Society Foundation
It was such a nice pleasure to meet you, and what you had planned for my father just took my breath away. It was so special to hear you tell us how he would just come over to talk with you. I think it brought him much comfort. Tha you for putting that Air Force article of him on your website. I am going to have a replica made of the painting of his plane to give you. Thank you again for all you have done to honor our dad. Love, The Gillilands
Get In Touch
North Dallas Funeral Home
- When a Death has occurred please call us to make arrangements and to have one of our care team members assist you and your family immediately. Toll-free: 1-800-300-1655 Local: 972-241-9100
- Click here to Download the Cremation Forms
- Have the cremation authorization form notarized
- Fax the forms back to us at:
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Facts about Funerals (PDF)
- General Price List (PDF)
- Hospice Groups in DFW Metroplex
- Hospitals in DFW Metroplex
- Flying with Cremated Remains (PDF)
- Social Security Information (PDF)
- Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains (PDF)
- Area Cemeteries
- VA Burial Benefits
- VA Applications and Request Forms
- VA Organizations
- Texas Prepaid Funeral Contracts
- What to Bring to the Arrangement Conference