Carl John Gahwiler
1943 - 2020
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Carl John Gahwiler, 77, passed away May 11, 2020 from complications after heart surgery for mitral valve repair. He was in the hospital 60 days before coming home where he was surrounded by the love of his family for his final hours.

Carl was born March 12, 1943 to Joseph and Adeline Gahwiler in Monroe, Wisconsin. Along with an older brother and a younger sister Carl grew up on a small dairy farm near Blanchardville, where he learned a strong work ethic.

For his first 8 years of schooling he walked to a one room country school, Postville. He attended Blanchardville High School where he was president of his high school class and cocaptain of his football team. He grew up without TV until the age of 17. He played games with his family, invented games, read, and listened to the radio. Due to the demands of farm work and milking cows there was little chance for travel. Carl made up for that by becoming an international businessman who managed and traveled most areas of the world and loved working with people of diverse backgrounds.

In 1966 Carl graduated from Iowa State University, began his 33 1/2 year career with Eli Lilly and Company, and married Donna Jeanine Sue Thornton. They would have celebrated 54 years of marriage in July. What a wonderful life together they had! Carl was known for his sense of humor, his intelligence, his organization, his love of family, and his integrity. A devout man, he was known to pray everyday for years for friends and family, though he did not believe in pushing his religion on others. He loved history and maps. In 1971 Carl got his Master's Degree from Butler University in economics, in which he had a lifelong interest. Most of his career with Lilly was with ELANCO, where he eventually became an executive director.

In addition to Indianapolis he took his family to live in St. Louis, MO; Taipei, Taiwan; and Kobe, Japan. In retirement he continued to travel, was in the Indianapolis Hosta Society, and a multiple past president of the Indiana Council on World Affairs. He belonged to St. Monica Catholic Church.

Many who worked for him described him as the best boss they ever had. He had a keen ability to focus on the purpose of the job but always kept the philosophy of Eli Lilly, the founder of the company, that the people who worked there were the greatest asset. He treated others with respect no matter their nationality or the color of their skin. He expected excellence but led by example.

Carl is survived by his wife, Donna, their 4 children: Christina (Geoff) Spiess and Carla Taylor of Carmel, IN; Lisa (Zach) Newcomer of Mequon, WI; Paul J. Gahwiler of Indianapolis, IN; 7 grandchildren; 2 siblings, Joe (Bonnie) Gahwiler of MN and Mary Reich of WI; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins, both in the United States and in Switzerland.

Visitation will be at Flanner Buchanan Funeral Home, 105 W. Pine St., Zionsville, IN from 5-8 pm, Wednesday, June 3. The funeral is 11 am, Thursday, June 4, at the same location. Social distancing and face masks are requested. Interment will follow at Old Pleasant Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis. Go to for a link to view Carl's funeral online or to leave comments and condolences.

A memorial mass open to the public will be held at a later date.

Memorial contributions honoring Carl will be sent to Food For The Poor or to Indiana University Health Hospice.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Indianapolis Star from May 27 to May 31, 2020.
05:00 - 08:00 PM
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3 entries
June 3, 2020
The last time I got to visit with Carl was at Mass this past winter. As always some good natured Cyclone banter and talk of mutual friends and our wonderful Elanco experiences. Always such a gentleman...Pat and I will miss him.
Brian Rittgers
June 1, 2020
I always thought the older brother would die first.
One time when Carl called me I answered by saying Carl Who. We always had a good laugh over that. When ever I called in the future I would always ask for Carl Who.
I remember playing cowboys and in the driveway with him. We spent many days making up and then playing the games in the room over the kitchen at the farm.
Joe Gahwiler
May 27, 2020
Donna and family, we are sad o sorry for your loss. We certainly enjoyed Carl at many occasions and knew how very proud he was of his children and grandchildren.
Ron & Linda Williams
Ronald Wiy
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