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Sylvia's Story

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Sylvia Gladys Emery (nee Barden) Gabel, 96, of Effingham, IL, formerly of Jasper County, passed away on Monday morning, September 25, 2017, at Lutheran Care Center in Altamont.
A celebration of life memorial service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, October 28, 2017, at Centenary United Methodist Church in Effingham. Following the service, there will be a reception from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the church. Following the reception, burial will be in Island Creek Cemetery in rural Montrose. Johnson Funeral Home in Effingham is assisting the family.
Memorials may be made in loving memory of Gladys to Centenary United Methodist Church or the charity of your choice. Online condolences may be shared at www.johnsonandsonsfh.com.
Gladys was born on November 8, 1920, in South Fulham, London, England, the daughter of William and Sylvia (nee Emery) Barden. She was united in marriage to Dan Gabel, and he preceded her in death on January 30, 1993.
Gladys lived in the London metro area during the London bombing Blitz of WWII. She and her three brothers all served in the British military during the war and only one of her brothers survived. As a military radio operator Gladys intercepted German Morse Code communications, thus contributing to the breaking of the German Enigma codes and helping to shorten the war. She fell in love with Dan, a "Yank" 82nd Airborne Paratrooper in Woodhouse Eaves where both were billeted. After the war, she bravely left her own country to join Dan in Illinois where they raised four children. Moving from London to a rustic Montrose farmhouse was quite a culture shock and Gladys rose to its challenges. She was a woman of great courage; she had a love of music and a beautiful voice. She loved writing, often writing poems for others. Gladys maintained a daily journal as well as regular correspondence with family and friends in the US, Canada and the U.K. She was a wonderful storyteller and her children treasured the stories she told them about the "Duke and the Duchess". She was quick to laugh despite difficulties in her life. Gladys raised others' spirits and if you were fortunate, she called you "Ducky" - her favorite word for Dan. She has left a void that we will fill through our memories of her and the life examples she gave us.
Gladys is survived by her children, Mark (Chris) Gabel of Heartville, IL, Pamela (Christian) Nokkentved of Aurora, IL, Phyllis Gabel of Spokane, WA, and Andrew (Julie) Gabel of Funkhouser, IL; plus many grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.
Gladys was preceded in death by her parents; husband, Dan; and three brothers.
Published on September 29, 2017
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