Carolyn Cranston Gelles

Date of Birth

May 5, 1961

Date of Death

October 1, 2015

Born in Phoenix, Arizona on May 5th, 1961, Carrie died in a single-vehicle accident on October 1st, 2015. She was 54 years old.

Carrie will be remembered by all who knew her as a vivacious and adventurous person who loved connecting with people. Put her anywhere and she would quickly have five new friends. She also had a special place in her heart for animals. Growing up with cats, dogs, goats, and horses in Palos Verdes, California, Carrie would ride her pony, Sweet Pea, saying, “Hi, I’m Carrie” to everyone she met. She had a wonderful sense of humor and loved telling stories. And she was a great listener, caring deeply for friends and family and always ready to do a good deed for strangers.

Carrie was also an outstanding athlete. Barely standing five feet tall, she was the only girl at her high school on the boys’ varsity baseball team, throwing a hardball as well as any of her team mates. She combined her athletic ability with a bold spirit and involved herself in skiing, river rafting, hiking, back packing, and sky diving. She loved travel and was always up for the next adventure. She lived in Australia for a year and visited South America, China, and the Middle East, as well as several trips through Europe.

After graduating from Occidental College and later finishing graduate work at Antioch University in Santa Barbara, Carrie became a psychotherapist with a strong practice in the Santa Ynez Valley, and, over the last year, in Santa Barbara. Both as a therapist and as a caring friend to many, Carrie helped a multitude of people with their problems over the course of her life. She always had her dog by her side and was one of the early innovators of Animal-Assisted Therapy.

She is survived by her mother, Carolyn Humphreys, father Harry P. Gelles, brothers Paul H. Gelles and Harrison H. Gelles, sister-in-law Iliana Gelles, and five nieces and nephews.

There will be a celebration of Carrie’s life at 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, November 1 at the Vineyard House, 3631 Sagunto Street, in Santa Ynez.

Carrie adopted her last dog, Charlotte, from Old Yeller Ranch Rescue, a non-profit that she strongly supported. If you wish to make a donation, please make it in Carrie’s name to OYRR, P.O. Box 372, Los Olivos, CA 93441.


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