Paul Bickel (1930 - 2017)

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Paul Edward Bickel

Paul Edward Bickel, retired Gabilan Iron and Machine Co. (GIMCO) CEO and long-time resident of Salinas/Monterey, died of aggressive lung cancer the 8th of October 2017 at home with his loving wife, Patty (nee Burton) at his side and family in attendance. Born with the characteristics of humor, intelligence, integrity, and creativity, his early life in a large family during the Great Depression encouraged him to develop the additional characteristics of compassion, common sense, and determination that enabled him to achieve a successful and fulfilling life.

Paul was born 8 July 1930 to Agnes Lillian and Otto Bickel in Saginaw, MI. He is survived by his daughter Karen Sunde, sons Paul II and Michael Bickel, step-children Rob McKay and Becky Newman; six grandchildren and six step-grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and three and two-thirds great-great-grandchildren. Also surviving him is his sister Helene Hansen of Albuquerque, NM as well as many fond nieces and nephews. He is pre-deceased by four siblings: Bob, Don, and Art Bickel; and Shirley Granlund.

After serving during the Korean Conflict, Paul attended the University of Cincinnati with the help of his brother Bob, graduating in Mechanical Engineering. He began his career in large corporations like Chrysler then Schlumberger where he designed four patents for industrial production. He then moved on to Metal Improvement Co. as plant and production manager. Paul then moved to progressively more senior positions in San Jose and Los Angeles, culminating in a senior management position under Jack Renault at Gabilan Iron and Machine Company in Salinas, having found the best fit for his acute intelligence and positive creative energy. Taking over the senior management position and buying into the company as Jack Renault retired, Paul guided GIMCO's growth from a small metal fabricating plant producing equipment primarily for other local small, fishing, and agricultural industries, to a multi-plant facility spanning several states, producing first parts and then full exhaust systems for Harley-Davidson, playing a role in the regeneration of Harley into an international industrial icon. Paul retired, then was called back to GIMCO. He retired for the last time, moving to Monterey with Patty in 2005. Paul's incisive intelligence, generosity, and integrity were not limited to corporate successes. He used an open-door policy for all plant employees, working with them to create family sustaining jobs and a supportive community for them and their families. Being actively concerned with helping his broader community do right by its residents, he also served on the Salinas Planning Commission in the 1970s. Paul's family nicknamed him DOD (dear old dad) because of his loving and generous-though just-support tempered with kindness and mercy. Paul was an avid fisherman and Giants fan, taking great pleasure in the struggle and triumph (as well as in battles fought well when lost) that fishermen delight in, as well as exploring the National Parks in shared trips with family and friends. Reveling in the Giants' successes and exchanging quips with friends and family fans of rival teams at the Bickel family reunions delighted him. Among the younger members of the extended family, he was known for his huge belly laughs; for his good will; as great fun, a good partner in card tournaments and a supportive elder and mentor. Paul's passing will leave a huge hole in all our lives as well as our hearts.

Burial will be private. There will be no funeral ceremony. A celebration of Paul's life will be held later for family and friends. Please do not send flowers. Instead, send a donation to . For further info, contact Healey Mortuary in Salinas:

Funeral Home
Healey Mortuary and Crematory
405 North Sanborn Road
Salinas, CA 93905
(831) 424-1848
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Published in Albuquerque Journal on Oct. 22, 2017
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