Jean Carol Gebhardt died peacefully on July 9, at the Henrietta Brewer House in Vineyard Haven following a long illness. She was 94.

Born to Frank C. and Dorothy E. (Mong) Gebhardt of Erie, Penn., she was known by her middle name, which she adopted in elementary school because other girls in her class were also named Jean. 

Carol had exceptional musical talent and began studying the cello in her early teens. She attended Chautauqua Music Camp, Oberlin College and Wayne State University, ultimately earning a fellowship to the Juilliard Graduate School. Later, while freelancing as a cellist in New York city, she studied interior design and was invited to join the firm of James Amster Associates.

Her first client there was Tom Scherman, founder and conductor of the Little Orchestra Society, who had recently purchased a triplex apartment in Carnegie Hall. Her design for Mr. Scherman was featured in House Beautiful Magazine. This led to a job — also covered by House Beautiful — for publisher Bennett Cerf, co-founder of Random House, and to many subsequent jobs for a variety of clients.

Carol married physicist Robert H. Kraichnan in 1954. The couple moved from New York city to New Hampshire in 1963, had a son, John, in 1964, and divorced in 1988.

During the 1970s and 1980s, she established the Peterborough, N.H. interior design firm of Gebhardt and Garland with business partner Mary T. Garland, taught cello privately and as adjunct faculty at Franklin Pierce University, and performed as a cellist both freelance and as a founding member of the Dublin String Quartet.

She loved to entertain and frequently hosted chamber music gatherings. Her culinary interests were eclectic and her recipes sometimes experimental, with specialties ranging from sourdough bread to elaborate, expertly-crafted Chinese meals.

A visitor to Martha’s Vineyard since the 1940s and summer resident there in Menemsha during the 1960s and 1970s, she moved to Vineyard Haven year-round in 2016. “There is no place on earth I’d rather be,” she would often say when speaking of the Island.

She is survived by her son, his daughter and their families. In accordance with her wishes, there will be no funeral or other formality.

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