Chief telephone operator Colleen Gebel, beloved grandmother passes at age 83

CHARLES CITY — Colleen Welch Gebel, 83, of Charles City, died Thursday, June 29, 2017, at the Floyd County Medical Center in Charles City.

A funeral Mass for Colleen will be held 10:30 a.m. Monday, July 3, 2017 at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Charles City with Father Gary Mayer celebrating the Mass. Burial will follow at Calvary Cemetery.
A visitation will be held Sunday, July 2, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Hauser Funeral Home in Charles City and continue for one hour prior to the service at the church on Monday.
Mary Colleen Welch was born on May 8, 1934, in Waukon, the daughter of Ray and Rita (Ryan) Welch. She graduated in 1952 from St. Patrick’s High School in Waukon. Following high school, she began her career with Northwestern Bell Telephone Company in Waukon and in the years following she worked for the telephone company in Independence, Oelwein, and Charles City.
On April 18, 1964, Colleen was united in marriage to James Gebel at Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Charles City. Jim and Colleen made their life in Charles City where they raised their three children, Suzanne, Patrick, and Elizabeth.
Colleen continued her career with the telephone company and retired as the Chief Operator to be home with her children. In 1985 she went to work at Comprehensive Systems to answer their phones on a temporary basis and retired ten years later as the Safety Director.
Colleen was a member of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church and served on the school board and parish council. She was a member of St. Theresa’s Circle and the Funeral Choir at IC Church. She also was a member of the Telephone Pioneers of America. Colleen and Jim wintered in Clermont, Florida for many years in their retirement. Colleen loved to shop, play bingo, travel on bus trips, and to share meals with her family. Colleen always looked forward to those times she could share her life with all of her family, but the five grandchildren had a special place in her heart. Colleen loved watching her grandchildren’s sporting events and other activities.
Living family members include three children, Suzanne Gebel of Urbandale; Patrick (Shira) Gebel of Charles City, and Beth (Scott) Hoppel of Osage; five grandchildren, Brandt, Elliott, and Sadie Gebel, and Nicholas and Katie Hoppel; brothers-and sisters-in-law Tom & Marian Gebel of New Hampton, Marcy Gebel of Mason City, Dan & Dorothy Gebel of Clear Lake, and Jerry & Barb O’Donnell of Cresco; and 15 nieces and nephews and their children.
Since Colleen was an only child, her first cousins were very special to her and memories of time spent with them held a special place in her heart.
Colleen was preceded in death by her husband, Jim, her parents, a son, Joseph Gebel, brother-in-law Don Gebel, many cousins, and numerous aunts and uncles, but none more special than Anna and Bill Deeny.
Memorials may be made payable to Immaculate Conception Church, 106 Chapel Lane, Charles City, Iowa, 50616 and will be directed to Youth Ministry Activities for IC Charles City and Sacred Heart Osage.

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