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Catherine Ball Carlston

May 4, 2014
Parkersburg News and Sentinel

Catherine Ball Carlston celebrated her 99th birthday on Jan. 25, 2014. She died on April 24, 2014, in Springfield, Va., after a short illness.

She was educated in the Parkersburg public school system, and in 1936, earned a B.A. degree in geography and mathematics at Denison University, Ohio. At Denison, she became a member of Alpha Phi sorority and was elected to the honorary academic society Phi Beta Kappa.

Her father, Emery F. Ball, was an accountant and served as the Deputy Collector of Internal Revenue for alcohol, tobacco and firearms at the West Virginia Office of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service. He was a 32nd Degree Mason at the West Virginia Grand Masonic Lodge in Parkersburg, and was a licensed riverboat captain. Her mother, Hilda Fischer Ball, was owner and proprietor of The H.F. Fischer Fine Shoe Store at 511 Market Street.

Following graduation, Catherine returned to her hometown to teach mathematics and physical geography at Parkersburg High School. From 1936 to 1938, she attended Columbia University in New York City, with a Graduate Resident Scholarship from the Committee for Advanced Instruction in Science to study physiography with emphasis in geomorphology. From 1938 to 1940, she taught physiography in the Wood County public school system in Parkersburg.

She met fellow graduate student Charles W. Carlston at Columbia University. They married in the summer of 1940. Mr. Carlston was awarded a Ph.D. in geology from Columbia University in 1946.

For several years they lived in Tuscaloosa, Ala., where Mr. Carlston worked for the Water Resources Division of the U.S. Geological Survey, and where Mrs. Carlston taught physiography in the Army Specialized Training Program at the University of Alabama.

In 1945, Mr. Carlston accepted an appointment at St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y., where their daughter, Sarah Elizabeth, was born. In 1946, he was awarded a Ph.D. in geology, and in 1947, he accepted a faculty position in the Department of Geology at Oberlin College, Ohio. In 1951, Charles was recruited by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization and the family primarily lived in Lahore and Quetta, Pakistan. Upon returning to Oberlin, Mrs. Carlston wrote a treatise on the status of women in Pakistan and India, which she presented to the Oberlin branch of the American Association of University Women.

Returning to the Geological Survey in 1953, Mr. Carlston moved his family to Morgantown, W.Va. In 1957, he transferred to the Survey offices in Arlington, Va. Mr. Carlston died in 1985.

During their years at Oberlin, Mrs. Carlston was a member of the Oberlin branch of the American Association of University Women and served as president of the chapter from 1945 to 1946. In Morgantown, she led a successful campaign to move the city's library out of its basement home in the city building and into a proper purpose-built home with a dedicated Children's Room. As part of that campaign, Mrs. Carlston organized a month-long festival of recreational reading for children and hosted a local radio program focusing on reading to children.

In 1954, the Carlstons joined with six other families to form the city's Unitarian Fellowship, which continues to flourish today. During that time, Mrs. Carlston recruited teachers, installed the Council of Liberal Churches curriculum and oversaw the church school.

In Arlington, Va., Mrs. Carlston worked in the Arlington County Libraries and then joined the staff of the Geography and Map Division of the U.S. Library of Congress as a cataloger of atlases. She also worked for the National Academy of Sciences, where she worked for three years as an editor of the Proceedings of the Academy, and for two years with the National Cooperative Highway Research Program, a division of the Highway Research Board. From 1972 until her retirement in 1985, she edited several editions of the Handbook of Physiology for the American Physiological Society in Bethesda, Md. She also co-edited the Physicians Guide to Diving Medicine, published by Plenum in 1984 for the Undersea Medical Society, now the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society.

She moved to Greenspring Village in Springfield, Va., in 1999. Since 1961, she was a member of Rock Spring Congregational Church in Arlington, Va.

Mrs. Carlston was a Life Member of the Association of American Geographers, being elected to that organization in 1962. She was also a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, qualifying for membership as a direct descendent of Michael S. Stump II, who served as a Colonel in General George Washington's Continental Army during the American Revolution. She was a cousin of Admiral Felix Budwell Stump, United States Navy and Commander, United States Pacific Fleet. Admiral Stump was also a native of Parkersburg.

She is survived by her daughter, Sarah Elizabeth Carlston Ulis; and her son-in-law, Robert M. Ulis.

Mrs. Carlston was interred at Parkersburg's Mt. Olivet Cemetery on May 2, 2014.

Contributions may be made to the Frank J. Wright Memorial Scholarship Fund, Denison University, 100 West College St., Granville, OH 43023.

 
 
 

 

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