John E. Gehl, 71 of Akron, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by his loving family on Thursday (August 16, 2018).
He was born in Buffalo, NY on July 9, 1947, a son of the late John and Mary Jean Shevlin Gehl.
John’s life was lived in service to his family, community, and faith. He touched so many lives through his work, community service and active faith. John believed his life’s mission was to build the kingdom of heaven here on earth. John’s dynamic faith was lived out as an active member of St. Maximillian Kolbe Parish where he served as a Lector and Eucharistic Minister. He and Marlene were also members of the Ecumenical Christian Community, the People of Praise, for over 30 years.
John was a long time member of Akron-Newstead Rotary and was club president twice. He loved his community and was the first to volunteer for service projects and serve on a committee. Rotary’s motto “Service Above Self” could also have been John’s life motto.
Even in his professional life John served. He worked in many aspects of the commercial insurance business where he had a reputation as being honest and focused on his clients.
John was affectionately known by many children as “Grampa Trouble Maker.” His grandfatherly spirit was freely given to so many young people. Even this past summer, in his wheelchair, he served as a camp chaplain at a summer youth camp where he served annually for many years. John would also spend time in the Blackrock region of Buffalo reading books to the school children.
A defining moment of John’s life was when he and Marlene walked the Camino de Santiago, a 500 hundred pilgrimage in Spain. They encountered many interactions with fellow pilgrims on the path.
John was an avid player of board games. At nearly every family gathering, a board game would be set up. He loved spending time with his children and grandchildren learning new games. Many laughs and stories were shared over these late nights.
John was a military veteran, spending four years in active military duty and eight years in the reserves.
Survivors include his loving and devoted wife of 43 years, Marlene Tighe Gehl. Children, Josh (Maria) Gehl, Ben (Lori) Gehl and Jessie (John) Norton. Brother and sisters, Kathy (Jack) Patterson, Tom (Cindy) Gehl and Cindy (Tom) Weiss. Thirteen precious grandchildren and countless other children who affectionately knew John as “Grandpa Troublemaker”.
Family and friends are cordially invited to share thoughts, condolences and fond memories on Tuesday (Aug. 21st) from 3-8pm at St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish, 8656 Church St., East Pembroke, NY. John's Mass of Christian Burial will be Wednesday (August 22nd) at 10:30am from Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church, 4375 Harris Hill Rd., Williamsville, NY. Burial with full military honors will follow in St. Teresa’s Cemetery, Akron, NY.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions in John’s name may be offered to People of Praise Camp, 4200 Gunnville Rd., Clarence, NY 14031. Expressions of sympathy may be made at: www.mcandrewfuneralhomes.net.
ARRANGEMENTS WERE ENTRUSTED TO THE J. LEONARD MCANDREW FUNERAL HOME, LLC, 32 JOHN ST., AKRON, NY 14001. RONALD KONIECZNY II, DIRECTOR.