James Leo Gebel
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James Leo Gebel July 20, 1933 – Feb. 19, 2012 Resident of Hayward, CA James Leo Gebel passed away suddenly at his home on Sunday, February 19, 2012. James, known as “Jim” to family and friends, was born in Chicago to Peter F. Gebel II and Josephine Gebel. At the age of 8, Jim’s parents moved the family to Los Angeles. Growing up, Jim had an affinity for radios and electronics and entered the U.S. Army soon after graduating from L.A. High in 1952. In 1955, Jim married Mary Belle Qualls and adopted her daughter Victoria Diana. After being honorably discharged from the Army, Jim and family settled in the San Fernando Valley in Southern California and had 3 children (Michael Frederick, Monica Lynn, and Patrick Boyd) over the next few years. Jim worked at various companies as an electronic technician and later engineer. On nights and weekends, he attended San Fernando Valley State College to further his education and career. While single and in his late 30’s, Jim met Carole Anne Duke in March 1971, married her in July 1973, and they moved to the Hayward area in 1974. They had children Jeffrey Lee in 1975 and Wendy Anne in 1978. Jim worked for Speedcall, Atari, and Solid State Communications (where he reached VP of Engineering) before starting his own business, Gebelog Electronic Controls (GEC), in 1987. Jim was a family man first and foremost. He greatly enjoyed adventure with his family, including camping, boating, sailing, and traveling. He was a train enthusiast, loved riding his motorcycle, and played trombone in a Bay Area swing band. In his late 40’s, Jim learned to water ski and was proud to have skied under the Golden Gate Bridge for his 50th Birthday. He was an avid HAM Radio operator, enjoyed discussing politics and current events, and loved to strike up a conversation with anyone. In recent years, he and Carole enjoyed many vacations and cruises to places such as Europe, Australia, South America, the Panama Canal, the South Pacific, and Alaska. Jim was very active in the community, including being a volunteer for the disaster broadcast emergency system, the Fairview Community Club, and served on the Fairview Fire Protection District Board, including a term as Chairman of the Board. He served as scoutmaster for multiple Boy Scout troops and was active in the Hayward Amateur Radio Club and American Legion. Jim is preceded in death by parents, Peter and Josephine Gebel, brothers Peter and Jack, sister Margaret, and daughter Victoria. Jim is survived by his wife of 38 years, Carole; children Michael, Monica (Bob) Bischof, Patrick (Sherry) Gebel, Jeffrey (Michelle) Gebel, and Wendy (Dominic) Viola; grandchildren Clifton Gray, Olivia Mitchell, Zachary Gray, Rosanna Gebel, Amy Gebel, Isaac Viola, Shane Viola, Liam Gebel, Christina Rush, Jennifer Blagg, Kenneth Blagg, and Christopher Nelms; great grandchildren Connor and Bryce Mitchell, Kinley and Madelyn Gebel, and Devon Rush. A celebration of life will be held on Sunday, March 4, 2012, at 1:00 p.m. at the Lone Tree Cemetery Amphitheatre at 24591 Fairview Ave. in Hayward. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the American Heart Association or St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital .
Published in Inside Bay Area on February 26, 2012