In Memoriam: Christel Behnke Gehlert (1941-2022)

We are saddened to learn of the passing of one of our own:  Christel Behnke Gehlert of Fort Wayne, IN and Jupiter, FL died surrounded by family at home on June 19, 2022. She was 80 at the time of her death.

Christel was born September 17, 1941, in Hamburg, Germany, she was the youngest daughter of the late Henry E and Anna (Schmidt) Behnke. She was a member of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation Church, in Fort Wayne for over 30 years, and retired after a career as a teacher, an international communications specialist, and professional writer. She was also a proud member and supporter of the National Organization for Women, the National Abortion Rights Action League and a passionate supporter of animal welfare organizations.

She is survived by her husband of 46 years, Dick Gehlert; children Keith Gehlert, Julie (Bryan) Young, Amy (Mark) Kidwell, and Amberley Ervin Gehlert (Rick Foster) and grandchildren Oliver and Orson Gehlert, Makenna (Tylar) Brockhouse and Elena Kidwell; and her adoring cat, Joey.

In addition to her loving family relationships, Christel nurtured very close friendships with Alison, Jayne, Nancy, Sabine, Pauline, Jutta, Ingrid, and Brandon ‘Bubu’, plus many others.

She was preceded in death by her sister, Doris Vockensohn and her brother Klaus Behnke.

Christel will be remembered for her infectious smile, wit, humor, fierce love, generosity, sharp intelligence, and incredible style.

Please join the family at a Celebration of Life to be held on Christel’s birthday, Saturday, September 17 from 2-5 at the Unitarian Universalist Church, 5310 Old Mill Road, Fort Wayne, IN 46807.

Memorial donations may be made to Humane Fort Wayne (Formerly the Allen County SPCA) or Fort Wayne Animal Care and Control Fond memories, and expressions of sympathy may be shared with the Gehlert family at