April 18, 1913
to December 8, 2012
Else Gabriel was born in the Charlottenburg District of Berlin, Germany in 1913, the second of two daughters to Elise and Herman Franke. While not from a wealthy family, she won a scholarship to a prestigious private girls’ academy early on in her schooling. Her education, which included studying at the University of Berlin, gave Else a life-long love of learning and knowledge.
Born just before World War I, the politics and social chaos in Germany shaped her life dramatically, and Else and her young family were, essentially, refugees from 1938 until 1955. Fleeing the war in Europe, she went on to live in Kenya, Uganda, Palestine, Cyprus, returned to Germany in 1955, immigrated to Canada and then moved to Michigan and Texas. After almost 30 years in Texas, and at 88 years old, Else stated that she wanted to have one more adventure and moved to Orcas Island, sight unseen.
Among the Orcas Islanders, she found a home, church and community that she adored and often said that the happiest time of her life was here in the San Juan Islands. Else is on her last journey now, but her friends at Emmanuel Episcopal Parish and at the Orcas Senior Center are likely to remember the vivid stories of her travels for years to come.
She is survived by: her daughter, Dagmar Szabados of North Hollywood, Calif.; daughter, Ingrid Gabriel of Friday Harbor; granddaughter, Isabel Gabriel of Friday Harbor; son, Harald Wermel of Rutherford, N.J.; and beloved niece, Christiane Vermel of Red Rock, Ariz. She is preceded in passing by her son, Ivar Wermel and her grandson, Spencer Wermel.
A memorial service and interment at Emmanuel Episcopal Parish in Eastsound will take place in the spring. Arrangements are in the care of Evans Funeral Chapel and Crematory, Inc., Anacortes, Wash. and the San Juan Islands. To share memories of Else, please sign the online guest register at www.evanschapel.com.