School 13

Carmen R. Gillespie

June 17, 1965 ~ August 30, 2019 (age 54)


Carmen R. Gillespie, 54, most recently of Lewisburg, died unexpectedly on Friday, Aug. 30, 2019, at her home. 
She was born June 17, 1965, in Ft. Rucker, Ala., a daughter of Lawrence and Gwen Gillespie of Virginia. She was married to Harold Bakst who preceded her in death Feb. 11, 2013. 

Carmen was the loving and devoted mother of Chelsea Gillespie and Delaney Bakst. Carmen is also survived by her brother and sister-in-law, Larry and Sara Gillespie of Virginia, and nephews Isaac and Oscar Gillespie. 

Carmen was a graduate of Robinson Secondary School and received her bachelor's and master's degrees from James Madison University and a Ph.D from Emory University. 

Carmen began her teaching career at George Mason University. She continued her career as a professor of English, American, and African American literature at Virginia Commonwealth University, the University of Mary Washington and the University of Toledo. Carmen worked for the past 13 years as a professor at Bucknell University, where she was the director of the Griot Institute for the Study of Black Lives and Culture at Bucknell. 

Carmen's scholarship focused on Toni Morrison, Alice Walker, and various aspects of American and Caribbean literature and culture. She published three award-winning books of poetry and received several prestigious fellowships for her writing. 

A warm, kind, and beloved presence, Carmen enjoyed hosting her large circle of devoted friends and family at her beautiful home and garden. 

A celebration of her life is being planned for the spring.

Donations can be made to the Carmen Gillespie Assistance Fund thru a GoFundMe campaign:

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Services are to be announced

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