Lorena Frieda Gabel was born June 9, 1917, on the family farm near Akron, the daughter of John and Louisa (Milbrodt) Koch. She was baptized and confirmed at St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church, Preston Township, rural Akron. She attended Breezy Hill country school in Portland Township and eighth grade at Akron Community School. After completion of the eighth grade, she helped at home and worked for several neighbors in the area.
She was united in marriage to James Gabel March 21, 1935, at St. John's Lutheran Church parsonage. Together, they made their home and farmed for many years in Preston Township. They were blessed with four children: Connie, Leon, James A., and Pamela. In 1984, they retired and moved to Akron. After her family was grown, she worked as a nurse's aide at the Akron Hospital and Care Center for 14 years. She thoroughly enjoyed those years. James died in 1987.
She was a faithful member of Plymouth Presbyterian Church, where she served as an elder, Sunday school and Bible school teacher, organist, and a member of the Presbyterian Women.
She was a longtime member of the Hoschler American Legion Auxiliary and a 50-year member of the Iowa Farm Bureau. She was also a member of the Akron Senior Center.
Through the years, she enjoyed music and played by ear. She also enjoyed playing pinochle, her garden and flowers, reading, and traveling. She also enjoyed attending her children and grandchildren's activities. She enjoyed watching sports, in particular, the Chicago Cubs and Minnesota Twins, or whatever teams her family member was playing on.
Lorena volunteered at Life Skills Training Center in Le Mars for several years and received a Volunteer Award from Governor Terry Branstad. She donated several scholarships through the years to Akron-Westfield students.
Through the years, she was always a very generous and giving person. But most of all, Lorena loved caring for her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her.
She is survived by her loving family: Connie Toben and her husband Gene of Le Mars, Pamela Gabel of Glenwood Springs, Colo., Leon Gabel and his wife Dorothy of Akron, and James A. Gabel and his wife Inge of North Tonawanda, N.Y.; 13 grandchildren; 31 great-grandchildren; a brother: Henry Koch and his wife Dorothy of Virginia Beach, Va.; two sisters-in-law, Loris Gabel Heeren of Le Mars, and Marilyn Koch of Waverly; and several nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her husband, James; four sisters: Delia Wilken, Lillian Schroeder, Minnie Borchers, and Evelyn Rademacher Leaf; and four brothers: William, August, Leonard, and Rev. Lowell Koch.
Funeral services will be 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at Plymouth Presbyterian Church, rural Le Mars. Commissioned Lay Pastor Brian Schafer will officiate. Burial will follow in the church cemetery. Visitation will be after 3 p.m. today (Monday) with the family present after 6 p.m., and a prayer service at 7 p.m., all at Carlsen Funeral Home - Schroeder Chapel in Akron. Visitation will resume one hour prior to the service on Tuesday at the church.
Expressions of sympathy may be extended to the family through www.carlsenfuneralhome.com.