Gebhard, Al "Lefty"
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Al "Lefty" Gebhard, 85, of New Holstein, passed away Sunday, August 18, 2013.
He was born December 15, 1927 in Kiel. He was the son of the late Henry and Clara (Schultz) Gebhard.
Lefty was united in marriage to Beatrice "Mickey" (Turba) Gebhard on February 23, 1951.
She preceded him in death on July 26, 2012. Lefty graduated from Kiel High School in 1945 and attended Lakeland College for two years earning a degree in Accounting.
Lefty served in the US Navy during World War II from 1945 to 1946 and again from 1950 to 1952 during the Korean War.
He worked at Tecumseh Products Lauson Engine Division retiring in 1993 with 42 years of service.
He was a member of Holy Rosary Parish in New Holstein and a member of New Holstein American Legion Post No. 124.
Athletics was near and dear to Lefty. He played baseball for numerous organizations including the US Navy where he was "All 11th Naval District First Baseman". He played in the All Service All-Star baseball games in Honolulu. He played for the Sheboygan Indians of the Wisconsin State League in 1946. For four years, 1946 to 1950 Lefty played professional ball for the Cleveland Indians Farm System followed by the Brooklyn Dodgers farm team in Sheboygan and later, many years for the Kiel Athletic Assn.
Lefty received many awards for his achievements. He was Most Valuable Player in Manitowoc County in 1957 and 1958 and Batting Champ in 1961. He had one of the longest home runs as a visiting player at the Wisconsin State Reformatory in Green Bay. He also earned the batting champ title in Kiel city softball in 1962 and had the highest batting average in the history of Kiel City softball with an average of .531.
Basketball was also another favorite, becoming the Most Valuable player in the Howards Grove Amateur basketball tournament in 1958. Lefty managed and coached for Kiel AA Baseball and Basketball, coaching the 1969 and 1970 Kiel AA Eastern Wisconsin Amateur basketball league champions. He was also a member of the Kiel Athletics Association where he held positions of Vice president and President.
Over the years he loved camping, gardening, canning, playing sheepshead, golfing, listening to Polka music, bowling and attending any sporting event both professional (Packers, Brewers, Bucks, Badgers) and cheering for his grandchildren. Lefty passed his love of athletics to his children and grandchildren both as a teacher and supporter.
Lefty is survived by his children Jeff (Marlene) Gebhard of Fond du Lac, Janine (Kevin) Mey of Kiel, Julie Hansen of Sheboygan, Joan (Steve) Merritt of Watertown, eight grandchildren and ten great grandchildren; his sisters Kathleen Tewelis of Greenfield, and Ethel Schreiber of Kiel; sister-in-law Janet Gebhard of Sheboygan and many nieces and nephews.
In addition to his parents and his wife, Beatrice, Lefty was preceded in death by his brother, Ken Gebhard, sister Laverne Kaiser, sister-in-law and brother-in-law Dorothy and Robert Schroeder, sister-in-law and brother-in-law Lois and Ralph Turba, brothers-in-law John Tewelis, Sr., Wallace Kaiser Sr., and Fredrick Schreiber Sr..
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at Holy Roasary Catholic Church 1724 Madison Street New Holstein, WI 5306. Rev. Harold Berryman will officiate with Parish Director Joe Zenk assisting.
Military Rites conducted by the New Holstein American Legion Post 124 will take place after the Mass. Burial will be in the Saints Peter & Paul Catholic Cemetery in Kiel.
Family and friends may call at the Sippel Funeral Home 2618 Altona Ave. New Holstein, WI 53061 on Wednesday, August 21, 2013 from 3-5:30 PM.
A Memorial Fund will be established in his name.
For additional information, please contact the Sippel Funeral Home in New Holstein (920) 898-4300 or visit sippelfuneralhome.net
Special thanks to the Progressive Rehabilitation Center, Sharon S. Richardson Hospice, Bonnie and Linda Rabe, and many others who provided comfort and care to Lefty.
Sippel Funeral Home
2618 Altona Avenue
New Holstein, WI 53061
Published in Sheboygan Press on Aug. 20, 2013