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Walter Gabel


1926 - 2016 Obituary Condolences Gallery
Walter Gabel Obituary
Walter F. Gabel, 89, formerly of Dover, died at home following an extended illness on May 11, 2016 in St. Augustine, Fla.

Mr. Gabel was born on June 24, 1926 in Pennsylvania, the son of Louis and Lois Gabel. He was one of eight children.

Mr. Gabel was a WWII veteran, serving in the U.S. Navy in the Pacific Theatre from 1944-1946. After the war, he graduated from Penn State University in 1950 with a degree in Forestry. He served 35 years in the Delaware Forestry Department, becoming the State Forester in 1977. Thousands of Delaware school children may remember his costumed-character visits to their classroom or Scout Troop as he enacted the educational role of Smokey Bear.

He and wife, Patricia, retired in 1991, and soon relocated to Florida. He was a member of Shores United Methodist Church in St. Augustine.

Walt was a member of several organizations, including the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Delaware Veterans Association, the Society of Mayflower Descendants, Society of American Foresters, Kent County Red Cross Disaster Team, Capital Grange, Delaware State Fire Police, Leipsic Volunteer Fire Co., charter member of the Daytona Beach/Palm Coast Penn State Alumni Association.

Walt dedicated himself to a goal of lifelong learning and education. He received great pleasure sharing his knowledge with others. Over his lifetime he acted at various times in the role of museum docent, visiting university professor, book author, newsletter editor, fire service instructor, lay speaker, Sunday school teacher and public speaker. His many hobbies included gardening, American history and writing.

One of his long-time passions was genealogy. He traced his family's roots back to the late 1500s.

Walt is survived by his wife of 63 years, Patricia (nee Wagner), of St. Augustine. Daughters Deborah (Samuel) Dawson of Miami, Fla. and Priscilla (Stephen) Robinson of Birmingham, Ala. Son William (Julie) of Crofton, Md. Mr. Gabel was pre-deceased by daughter, Jessica Gabel Triesler in 2010. Also survived by one brother, Thomas, and one sister, Ila. Mr. Gabel had seven grandchildren; Brian (Tiffney) Triesler, Jennifer (Colby) Jones, Jacob Scott and Joshua Robinson all of Birmingham, Ala. Daniel Triesler of Arizona and Colin and Luke Gabel of Crofton, Md. One great-grandchild, Elijah Gabe Triesler.

A celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 21 at Shores United Methodist Church in St. Augustine. Interment will be held at Barratt's Chapel in Delaware at a future date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Shores United Methodist Church 724 Shores Blvd, St. Augustine, Fla., 32086 or the Penn State Alumni Association Daytona/Palm Coast Chapter (Attn: Alan R) 29 Stratford Place, Ormond Beach, Fla. 32174 in memory of Walter Gabel.
Published in Dover Post from May 19 to May 28, 2016
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