Rose Sally Gebell, age 105, of Tamarac, FL passed away peacefully Friday, November 13, 2020. She was born October 23, 1915 to the late Gabriel and Theresa Pury. Rose was preceded in death by her husband, Anthony Gebell, daughter Janice Gebell, siblings: Julia Pury, Raymond Pury, John Pury, George Pury, James Pury, and Thomas Pury and son-in-law: William Haukkala.
Rose leaves behind one loving daughter: Gloria Haukkala, two sisters: Doris Lafayette and Hilda Pierson, two granddaughters: Deborah (James) Wilieko and Nicole (Andrew) Bohnert, four great-grandchildren: Anna Wilieko, Caroline Wilieko, Ethan Bohnert, and Alexander Bohnert, nieces and nephews: Linda (Charles) Houlding, Mary Pierson, Bill Lafayette (Ron Templin), John Lafayette, and Cynthia Pury (Craig Sandstrom), great-nieces and great-nephews: Jason Houlding, Ryan Houlding, Alice Sandstrom, Theresa Sandstrom, and Emily Sandstrom.
Rose was a lifelong learner and shared that passion with everyone she touched. In 1934, she graduated from Rochester High School in Rochester, Michigan as the Salutatorian and went on to pursue her education at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan earning both her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Education by 1965. She taught elementary school at Ferndale Public Schools in Ferndale, Michigan for 20 years until moving to Tamarac in 1970. Once in Florida, Rose continued teaching at Lauderhill Elementary, Pine Crest School, and Westchester Elementary in Coral Springs until she retired in 1979.
While residing in Tamarac’s Mainlands Section 4 for nearly 35 years, Rose embraced her Golden Years by participating in a wide variety of her community’s social and civic activities including the Nine-Holers Ladies Golf League, Merry Girls, dinner dances, the Helping Hands Club and acting as the clubhouse librarian. Outside Section 4, she also volunteered at St. Helen Catholic Church, St. John’s Nursing Center, and as a member of the Broward County Sheriff Office Citizen Observer Patrol (COP). When sisters Hilda and Doris moved to Tamarac, the three shared many years together enjoying each other’s company, community activities, and all that Section 4 had to offer.
In 2005, Rose and Tony moved to Atria Willow Wood where they continued being active, enjoying the community’s social, musical, and well-being programs, including chair aerobics and yoga. Rose’s volunteer spirit continued as she assisted in weekly Catholic mass altar preparations and acted as the facility’s unofficial librarian, expanding the large print section by hundreds of volumes.
Rose was a devoted and loving wife, caring for Tony until his passing in 2007. They were often referred to as the “Bobbsey Twins” as they wore matching outfits every day and were never far from each other’s sides. Married for 66 years, they enjoyed square and round dancing many times a week and frequent pot luck dinners with their dancing friends. Each evening they looked forward to playing Scrabble, Yahtzee, and Gin Rummy. Rose loved reading, crossword puzzles, cooking, and baking various types of cookies. Family especially enjoyed her amazing coconut cream pie.
Rose’s family wishes to express their deepest gratitude to the health care workers and staff of Holy Cross Hospital, Tamarac Rehabilitation and Health Center, and Heartland Hospice for their kindness and compassion.
Rose will always be remembered for her positive outlook and welcoming, uplifting demeanor. She appreciated every opportunity to enrich herself and wholeheartedly encouraged others to do the same. Anyone who had a conversation with her, no matter how long or short, had her complete attention. She made others feel special and loved.
Memorial Donations may be made to Women in Distress of Broward County, Inc.
Online at www.womenindistress.org or by mail P. O. Box 50187, Lighthouse Point, FL 33074
A private entombment service will be held on Monday, November 16, 2020 at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Cemetery.
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