Obituary of John Gimbel
John Raymond Gimbel was born near Lesterville, SD (Bon Homme County), on June 25, 1923, to Emanuel and Emelia Gimbel. God made His claim on John in the waters of Holy Baptism that September. The family relocated to Ree Heights, SD, where his father died suddenly when John was nearly 6. John worked with his brothers to manage the family farm. John enlisted in the Navy in 1944, and was part of the Navy’s restoration tasks in the Pacific. After being discharged, he returned to the family farm.
In 1950, he visited his sister in Westgate, IA, and met his nephew’s teacher, Mabel Timm. They were married on June 1, 1952, and settled in Iowa. They moved around Iowa and into Minnesota to follow farm jobs. Rebecca, Ruthann, James, and Paul were added to their family. John worked a number of mechanical and maintenance jobs, including serving St. John Lutheran School, Good Thunder, MN. He earned his GED, and qualified for numerous licenses and certifications while working at Mankato State University (last role, as a boiler operator).
In October, 1977, John and Mabel, as empty-nesters, moved to Concordia College, Milwaukee where John was Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds. With a heart for all people, especially those facing life’s challenges, in 1981 they began a ministry at Bethesda Lutheran group home as hosts for six adults in Greenfield, WI. In 1984 John began a maintenance job at the West Allis Senior Citizens Center. Both retired completely in 1997; however, always hard workers, they shared a role as managers of the apartment complex where they lived in New Berlin, WI. In 2003 they relocated to Sun City, AZ, and moved to Sierra Winds, Peoria, AZ, in June, 2016.
John was a comprehensive strategic thinker and creative problem solver. He had a love for bringing new life to old things, and was a creative and innovative inventor.
John and Mabel were dedicated students of the Bible and willing servants at many church activities. They always worked very hard, and remained very active and faithful in their LCMS churches. They had an active devotional and prayer life, and modeled piety, sincerity, truth, faith-filled trust, and sacrificial giving, supporting many Christian charities.
Their home was full of love and lots of laughter and joy. John loved people, and was a constant teaser. He was devoted to Mabel and their family, and loved Jesus above all, desiring that everyone know Jesus and be saved for eternity.
John cherished his independent living; he had a stroke on July 5, roughly ten days after his 98th birthday; after a setback, he was placed on hospice and died at the Health Center of his beloved Sierra Winds just after midnight on Monday, July 19, 2021.
John is preceded in death by Mabel (2018), his wife of 65 years, their daughter Ruthann (2021), his parents and all siblings, great-grandson Howie Nachtigall, and numerous children miscarried by his children and grandchildren. John and Mabel shared all ventures and adventures as a united couple during their life. He is survived by children Becky (Paul) Shaw [with Anna and Zach VanVleet, & Ronen & Mateo; Andrew; Christina and John Hemenway]; Jim (Jill) [with Andy and Laura & Miriam & Lila & Willa & Holden; Abby and Seth Brashear & Silas & Iggy & Wren; Jo and Gavin Nachtigall & Lionheart & Juniper]; and Paul (Karen)[with Jared; Jon and Jill & Hayes; Jessi and Tim Wittig & Jayden & Ryleigh & Logan] .
John was cherished and will be deeply missed, but both his earthly life and his NEW LIFE with Jesus are great causes for celebration. His life goal was to reflect Christ in life and at death; he had daily devotions and prayers, and in his last two weeks was most animated when hearing or reciting/singing along with beloved Bible passages and hymn stanzas. The family thanks God for making John His own dear child.
A memorial service is at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 31, 2021 at Fountain of Life Lutheran Church, 15630 N. Del Webb Blvd, in Sun City, AZ 85351. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorials be donated to Lutheran Bible Translators (205 South Main Street, Concordia, MO 64020) or the Lutheran Hour Ministries (660 Mason Ridge Center, St. Louis, MO 63141), or Fountain of Life Lutheran Church. Memorial Service
Saturday, July 31, 2021
1:00 - 2:00pm
Fountain of Life Lutheran Church
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