Ken Gabel, a memorial

The following is a talk Laura gave at Ken’s memorial service on July 28, 2018. We so appreciate all your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Laura is grieving still, but slowly resuming her painting. We anticipate having the blog and website back up and running in September. Thank you so much for your love and support.

memorial - laura and ken

All of us have slightly different impressions of Ken because the imprint he made on each of us was special. I want to tell you a very quick story of what Ken was like to me. The story is true. Ken remembered it, both his mom and dad recounted it to me and Tommy was too little to remember anything. This happened when Ken was about 4 or 5 years old. Ken’s dad worked at Parks Aviation College as an instructor where he taught men to become fighter pilots. Every night when Ken’s dad came home from work he always had some candy in his pocket for Kenny. One night Ken looked out the window and saw his father coming from afar, he excitedly ran all the way across the room with his arms outstretched, the force of his run broke the window and cut his hands. (No safety glass back then I guess.)

You might not know it but Kenny was always breaking windows. To me he was perfectly wild, thrilling, mischievous and a bit irreverent. It was magnetic from the beginning. We were in step, in sync and I’m sure you noticed, inseparable. I met him on his birthday in April and married him New Years Eve. And for 36 years he never wavered in his devotion for me. I had the pleasure of being a step mom to 2 of the finest young adults back then, Lee and Ken. 

We had a great deal of hardship which tested us both. During one of those seasons about 24 years ago, Ken broke through another window and introduced me to Jesus Christ. We slowly began to live God’s way. Ken was miraculously delivered from alcohol and cigarettes. He always had the courage of his convictions. He was passionate, persistent, honorable and intelligent.

Up until our last moments he utterly fascinated me. He could tell you about 5 different types of bamboo, was a bonsai master, we have a 25 year old bonsai, and of course baked incredible bread. This was a guy who could watch Rocky and Pride and Prejudice and appreciate them both. In many ways, I couldn’t capture him; he was too much for me. He was fun and had names for everyone and everything. Dude, Rio, Taco, Dudley, Jace, Lahoma, Dinglehoffer, Joey, names for even some of you!

memorial - bonsai

When we came to Faith Community Church he grew greatly in the Lord. Instead of crashing through the window, it seemed to me that he pressed his face against the glass, becoming kinder, gentler, more reflective. He always thought of others, not himself. Whether it was at the bank or the dentist, people loved him. 

I loved what Dona Pearson wrote to me about Ken: He was a man of integrity, strength, compassion, deep faith, a lover of his wife who exhibited the character of a Godly husband. We will miss him. Kenny served and loved me the way Christ loves all of us.

I rejoice for you, Ken—you are in the Presence of Christ. Have you baked bread with him yet? Ridden horses with him? Talked about the universe and how he holds it all together and how He created it? Have you discussed the myriad varieties of animals and birds that so fascinated you? It will take all of eternity to learn and you will enjoy it, Best Friend. 

One of Ken’s and my favorite movies is Gladiator, Ken liked it when the General told his troops, that “what you do in this life will echo throughout eternity”. Ken was not the type to grow old gracefully.  I am quite confident that when he crashed through that last window he went straight into his Heavenly Father’s arms, into the eternal home prepared for him.

Ken loved memorials and I know he’d love to hear what you have to say, so please feel free to celebrate his life today.

memorial - ken's dove

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