William ‘Bill’ Gehl, an only child, was born in Dow City, IA on October 31,1951 and passed away in Denison, IA February 13, 2019, at the age of 67. He is preceded in death by his mother, Audrey Maria Cross-Gehl and father, John Benjamin Gehl. Bill also has an only child, Stephanie Michelle Gehl.
Bill attended Dow City-Arion Community Schools. During his early school years, he was active in the glee club and played trumpet in band. He attended Saint Mary's Catholic Church and assisted as an altar boy and sang in the church choir. He graduated high school in 1969. He sang his all-time favorite song “Ave Maria” at state competition. He later became active in the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic-based Fraternal Organization engaged in charity.
He worked his way through college as an EMT and an orderly, graduating Iowa Western Community College with his LPN in nursing then proceeding to Briar Cliff College graduating with his RN. Bill met Loretta ‘Lorie’ Thompson while he was going through college. The two married September 6, 1980 and moved to Florida after Lorie’s college graduation to be close to Lorie’s parents, where Bill then attended St. Thomas University in Miami, FL. They had one child, Stephanie Michelle Gehl, when he was 33 and she was 26 in 1985. He graduated from St. Thomas with his Master’s in Healthcare Administration two years later in 1987. In 1989 Bill, Lorie, and Stephanie moved to Council Bluffs, IA. The couple were married 19 years until divorcing in 2000. During their marriage the family enjoyed trips to lakes in Minnesota, Disney Land, and various trips to visit family in Dow City and Denison, IA during the year.
Bill moved a few times throughout Iowa for various nursing career prospects and traveling opportunities. Before moving to Denison, IA, he said that even though he had spent most of his life in larger cities and working in hospitals and emergency rooms, he was “…returning to my roots. I think I’ve always been small town. It’s a slower pace. It’s home.” He purchased a home in Denison, IA with the intention of spending the rest of his days there. He reconnected with people he grew up with, acquired new friendships, and wrote numerous letters about his vacations and activities to his daughter as she continued through school, attending her college graduation and trying to stay as connected as possible. He was part of the St. Mary Catholic Church choir until the ministry dissolved about a year preceding his death. He did not like to ever be referred to as “old”, and made it clear that he had no intention of transitioning to a nursing home, preferring to live out the rest of his days at home.
Bill was an accomplished nurse, an intelligent, creative and artistic, charming man. He had a great respect for his parents, especially his dad, along with the love of healthcare like his mother. He always wanted the best for his wife and daughter. He was much loved by his family, and was able to resolve many things in his heart and communicate these with family and friends before his passing. He took care of his mother well after his dad had passed away. In his last year he endured frequent trips to the emergency room for heart related issues and ultimately passed away in his home.