Carolyn Mabel Schertz was born October 13, 1892 in Hudson, Illinois, the daughter of David Schertz and Carrie Kaufman. The Schertz family moved to Normal, Illinois around the turn of the 20th century; their home was on the corner of Franklin and Virginia Avenues.

In 1911 Carolyn began her nursing education at Brokaw School of Nursing, graduating in 1914, eventually becoming head nurse at Brokaw Hospital. During World War I, Carolyn was involved in the Hospital Department of the Red Cross in charge of the new trainees. In August 1917, she entered the Army Medical and was in charge of the surgery tents at Knotty Ash on England’s west coast. At this time Schertz contracted influenza which deteriorated to pneumonia and weakened her heart. She was relieved from active duty and returned to Bloomington in 1919.

After her discharge, she joined the Bloomington American Legion Post, where she met William B. Geneva. They married on April 7, 1921 and lived in McLean, Illinois. William Geneva was a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University in 1911 and of the IWU Law School in 1917. He completed a Bachelor of Education degree from Illinois State Normal University in 1919. After he graduated he served overseas as an officer for the U.S. Army for one year. William was the principal of Community High School in McLean, Illinois and later served the area as superintendent of schools.

In 1927, while Carolyn and William were living in Stockton, Illinois with their first daughter, William died in a boating accident. Carolyn gave birth to their second child shortly thereafter. She and her two daughters, Helen and Bette Lou, moved back to Normal. Carolyn Schertz Geneva died on January 19, 1992 at the age of 99.