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Kunz, Dora

Dora Kunz (née Theodora Sophia van Gelder, 1904-1999) was a practitioner and one of the originators of THERAPEUTIC TOUCH as well as a distinguished Theosophist. She was born on April 28, 1904, at Tjeweng, near Djombang in the Dutch East Indies, to Karel and Melanie van Gelder, in a family of Dutch Theosophists. She was a natural clairvoyant, like several other members of her family. At the age of eleven, she joined Charles W. LEADBEATER in Australia, where she assisted him in providing healing and reassurance to families who had lost loved ones in World War I. Leadbeater gave her the nickname “Dora” that she used the rest of her life. The van Gelder family settled in Australia, where they were very active in helping to establish Sydney as a major center of Theosophy. Dora left Australia in the mid-1920s. Eventually most of the van Gelders moved to the west coast of the United States.

When Dora married Fritz Kunz on May 16, 1927, she was still a Dutch citizen, although subsequently she became a naturalized American. Her husband was a lecturer, educator, and writer who came from a large German-American family of Theosophists. The wedding ceremony took place in Chicago. The newlyweds spent part of that summer camping at Orcas Island, in its first season as the Theosophical retreat now named INDRALAYA CAMP. On February 22, 1928 their son John was born in Seattle.

Dora Kunz was a member of the Theosophical Society in America for 80 years, from July 1919 until her death in 1999. She was active in the New York Theosophical Society and Northeast Federation, and helped to found a second camp, PUMPKIN HOLLOW FARM. After serving on the Board of Directors, she was elected as the tenth president at the convention of 1975 and served in that office for twelve years. During her tenure, she established annual science seminars, videotaping of educational programs, expansion of the publishing house, and computerization of office functions. In 1981 she hosted the Dalai Lama in his visit to TSA headquarters. She was a popular lecturer and the author of The Personal Aura (1991), The Real World of Fairies: A First-Person Account (1999) and The Spiritual Dimension of Therapeutic Touch (2004).

Mrs. Kunz died in Seattle on August 25, 1999.

Janet Kerschner