Richard 'Dick' P. Gebel, 83

Richard "Dick" P. Gebel, age 83 of Alta Vista, IA died Friday, July 24, 2020, at MercyOne North Iowa Hospice in Mason City.

A public Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, July 29, 2020, at St. Bernard's Catholic Church, Alta Vista with Rev. Jerry Kopacek celebrating the Mass. Social distancing practices and facemasks are recommended.

Interment will be held at Calvary Cemetery in Alta Vista with Mac McGrane, Rick Heying, Digger White, Dick White, Larry Meirick, and Mark Reiss serving as pallbearers.

Friends may greet the family from 4:00 - 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, July 28, 2020, at Hugeback - Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory in New Hampton where they will be a 4:00 p.m. parish scripture service. Friends may greet the family an hour prior to the Mass at the church in Alta Vista on Wednesday. Online condolences for Dick's family may be left at

Dick Gebel was born on March 6, 1937, to Art and Rosemary (Sullivan) Gebel on the family’s farm southeast of Alta Vista, and he and his five siblings learned the value of hard work early in life as they helped their parents with the chickens, pigs, cattle and dairy cows.

He attended St. William’s Catholic School and was a member of the Class of 1955 at the Alta Vista school, and in 1957, he began work as an apprentice plumber with Arnold Hunekie, beginning a lifelong of service to his customers. If someone’s heat went out or the water to the cattle barn stopped flowing in the middle of the night, Dick always took the call. Waiting until morning wasn’t in his vocabulary.

Dick was an exceptional dancer, and one night, he and his friends went to a dance at The Inwood Ballroom in Spillville. That dance changed his life forever as he met Joan Novotny, a pretty young woman from Little Turkey. The two fell in love, and on April 8, 1961, the two were married at the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Little Turkey.

The couple made their home in Alta Vista, where Dick worked for Arthur Schultz after Hunekie passed away in 1961. They welcomed two children — David and Pamela, who remember growing up with a gentle father who showed kindness not only to his family and friends but to people whom he hardly knew.

On May 1, 1978, he purchased the business from Schultz and renamed it Gebel Plumbing and Heating. For years, he worked with his son, David, in the family business. One of the longstanding jokes in the family was that Dick always said an open house for his plumbing business “is scheduled for the near future.” He never had it; he always was too busy treating his customers right.

Dick believed in serving his community and church. He was a member of the Alta Vista City Council for many years and was also a longtime volunteer fireman. He served on the St. Bernard’s Parish Council and was a lifelong member of the Knights of Columbus. Dick was also active in the Alta Vista VFW Post.

He and Joan liked to travel, and among the trips they took were to Las Vegas and Hawaii. Dick also loved his fishing trips with his “Mason City buddies” to Gull Lake in Minnesota, and he enjoyed a nice round of golf and playing cards with his buddies. Dick was always up for a major league baseball bus trip with Dave and Isaac every now and then.

Dick worked as a plumber for 50 years, and he didn’t believe in sick days. His children remember the day Dad had a medical procedure during his lunch hour and went back to work. That’s just the way Dick Gebel was.

Dick loved his two grandkids; in fact, it’s doubtful he ever said “no” to either one of them.

He was a kind, gentle man who always went the “extra mile” for his family, friends, customers, church, and community. He will be missed by those whose lives he touched.

Dick is survived by one son, David Gebel of Alta Vista, IA; one daughter, Pamela Gribben of Mason City, IA; two grandchildren, Samantha Gribben of Waverly, IA, Isaac Gribben of Gig Harbor, WA: two brothers, Dennis (Terri) Gebel of Cedar Falls, IA, Steve Gebel of Alta Vista, IA; one sister, Mary McAvoy of Alta Vista, IA; brother-in-law, Jerry Novotny of La Porte City, IA; along with several nieces, nephews, cousins, and many friends.

He was preceded in death by his parents; wife, Joan Gebel; two brothers, Robert and Gary Gebel; brother-in-law, Joe McAvoy.

New Hampton Tribune

121 West Main Street
New Hampton, IA 50659
Phone: (641) 394-2111

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