It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of beloved Caroline Blumenthal, who left this world on Oct. 23, 2023, at the age of 94.5 years old.
She passed peacefully in her sleep. She will be deeply missed by all who know her.
Caroline was born in Detroit, Mich., the youngest of three children to Samuel and Sadye Smerling, of blessed memory. Caroline often raced her brother, Morty, and her sister, Lillian, to claim precious time in the one bathroom they all shared in her childhood home. They enjoyed regular trips to the family dairy farm in the countryside of Michigan, in the rural manner of the shtetl her parents knew in Belarus. On the farm Caroline, in pigtails, enjoyed riding a horse called “Blackie.” Caroline was fond of curling up with a bag of apples and a good book as a child – in the century before the internet made an appearance.
Caroline loved to learn and was well educated, obtaining her undergraduate and master’s degrees at Wayne State University and later another master’s degree at Emory University. She taught English at University of West Georgia. She also taught English as a Second Language at Georgia State University, where she later became a reference librarian.
Caroline married Warner Blumenthal, a Holocaust survivor, after her cousin, Bea, of blessed memory introduced her to him. Caroline and Warner married in Michigan and moved to New Haven, Conn. They had two daughters (Deborah and Emily). Warner was a language professor who spoke many languages. They moved to Carrollton, Ga., in 1970, where they became one of three Jewish families in town. Caroline worked at the University of West Georgia as an English professor, and Warner was head of the language department. They regularly commuted 60 miles each way to Atlanta for religious purposes, as there was/is no synagogue in Carrollton, Ga.
Caroline enjoyed certain unrestricted aspects of country living on an acre outside the city of Carrollton, with two cats named Pirate and Cocoa, Weimaraner dogs Gretchen and Gretel (bred at home), as well as a stray Shetland pony who turned up at the door on Easter Sunday and was named Peter Cottontail. After Warner passed in 1978 Caroline did her best to raise two strong and accomplished daughters, a doctor and a lawyer, with some help from her village, including support from Hadassah, of which her mother was an avid supporter, as well as Hadassah youth groups Young Judaea and Camp Judaea.
Tired of grading papers, Caroline got another master’s degree in library science while teaching English as a second language at Georgia State University. She went on to work in the university library. She commuted for over a decade from Carrollton to Atlanta and back each day, narrowly surviving a near fatal run-in with an 18-wheeler on one trip home. She retired after she had a bad fall carrying a heavy bag of books and broke her back (later enduring 8 kyphoplasty procedures from repeated falls and back fractures).
With help from Emily, her nephew Morey, and his son, Aaron, Caroline packed up her home of about three decades in Carrollton and moved to Athens, Ga., where she set out to audit college classes at the University of Georgia to further her passion for learning. There she got a labradoodle puppy she named “Georgia,” arguably her favorite child, and enjoyed long walks with Georgia and her neighbors until she had a stroke in 2011, after her fourth grandchild was born. Caroline then moved to Atlanta to live closer to her daughter, Emily, in independent and then assisted living.
Caroline suffered from Alzheimers, osteoporosis, and heart disease. Her health declined in recent years. She was blessed to have kind and devoted caregivers, including one of her former students.
Caroline was a devoted wife to Warner, a loving mother to Deborah and Emily, and a cherished grandmother to Gabriel, Shani, Etai, and Bennie. She was grateful to attend her youngest grandson’s bar mitzvah in July, just after another hospitalization. Her family was at the center of her life, and her love and care for them knew no bounds.
Caroline admired the grace of long-necked giraffes and had a sizeable giraffe collection. Caroline was fixated on healthy habits including yoga and yogurt, which served her well into her ninth decade. Caroline was a very sweet and thoughtful person, generally more concerned with the welfare of others than herself.
Caroline was a lifetime member of Hadassah, following in the footsteps of her mother, Sadye, and continued by her daughter, Emily.
She is survived by her daughters, Deborah T. Blumenthal, and Emily S. Borna (Ramin Borna) and her four grandchildren, Gabriel Meshulam, Shani Meshulam, Etai Meshulam, and Benjamin Borna, who will carry on her legacy with love and fond memories. Caroline was predeceased by her husband, Warner Blumenthal, her sister, Lillian Smerling, her brother, Morton Smerling, and their parents, Sadye and Samuel Smerling.
A funeral was held to commemorate Caroline on Wednesday, Oct. 25, graveside at Arlington Cemetery at 10 a.m. with Rabbi Lauren Henderson officiating. There will be a zoom link for those unable to attend in person to participate. Shiva was observed at the home of Emily and Ramin and Bennie Borna at 205 Windsor Cove, Sandy Springs, GA 30328 on Wednesday, Oct. 25 and Thursday, Oct. 26 at 6:15 p.m.
In lieu of flowers, the family would be honored if donations are made in Caroline’s memory to a nonprofit of your choice or to one of the following:
• Friends of Israeli Defense Forces: www.fidf.org/ where three of her four grandchildren have proudly served.
• Hadassah Hospital: hadassah.gospringboard.com/secure/donate-hadassah, which Caroline and her family have supported as life members; and/or
• Chabad of Cobb, www.chabadofcobb.com/templates/donate_cdo/aid/4970020/jewish/Donate.htm, where compassionate members went out of their way to visit with Caroline regularly.
We are grateful for the time we had with Caroline and the lasting impact she had on our lives. She will forever be in our hearts. She will be fondly remembered for her bright, kind, and thoughtful presence. Her memory is a blessing.
- Caroline Blumenthal
- Wayne State University
- Emory University
- University of West Georgia
- Young Judaea
- Camp Judaea
- Georgia state university
- University of Georgia
- Arlington Cemetery
- Rabbi Lauren Henderson
- Friends of Israeli Defense Forces
- Hadassah Hospital
- chabad of cobb