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Gabriel P. Wassel

April 28, 1930 December 13, 2021
Gabriel P. Wassel
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Obituary for Gabriel P. Wassel

Gabriel P. Wassel – known to all as simply ‘Gabe’ – was born as the only child to Pando & Elena Wassel on Monday April 28, 1930, in the village of Sveta Petka, Macedonia. At that time in this mountainous region of Greece, most extended families lived together under one roof, and Gabe grew up surrounded by 20 of his closest relatives. Many of whom remained his best friends for life. The 1930s and 40s was a difficult period throughout all Europe, both economically and politically. For Gabe, this meant hard work in corn and wheat fields, being allowed to attend school only through the third grade, and then literally dodging the terror of both World War II and the Greek Civil War.

The promise of a better life came in 1948, when Gabe and his mother emigrated to the United States and he joined his father in the restaurant business, where he made his career for the next 44 years. First, as a short-order cook and later owner-operator of Parker Lunch, a well-known eatery catering to automotive workers on Detroit’s heavily industrial East Side. In 1969, Gabe opened the 7 Mile – Hayes Lunch, a coney island style diner, which was located exactly where its name implied. He concluded his restaurant career in 1992 as head grill man at the Regal Lanes bowling alley in Warren.

In 1956, Gabe met and married Violet Trifonopoulos – the woman who became his business partner, and also life partner for the next 65 years. Together they worked long hours to operate their bustling restaurants while simultaneously raising a family that included two children – Louis and Linda. The family later expanded to include daughter-in-law Mary and son-in-law Scott, respectively. Upon their retirement, Gabe and Violet embarked on their most treasured roles of all – Dedo and Baba (Grandfather and Grandmother) to Steven, Peter, Katherine, John, Holly, Apryl and Autumn. Later, when Benjamin and Jennifer married into the family, Gabe and Violet became doting Staar Dedo and Staara Baba (Great-Grandfather and Great-Grandmother) to James and Jackson.

On a personal level, Gabe was a longtime fan of the Detroit Tigers baseball team, rarely missing a radio or television broadcast of the games. However, his greatest passion was tending to his backyard gardens, where he grew peppers, tomatoes, peaches, plums, and grapes that were enjoyed not only by his own family and relatives, but also neighbors and friends up and down his street.

Following a happy and active life of 91 years – which sadly included a courageous struggle against debilitating osteo-arthritis and atrial fibrillation near the end – Gabe passed away peacefully while viewing television on the evening of December 13, 2021.

May his memory be eternal.

A Funeral Service will be held at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home, 1368 N. Crooks Road (between 14-15 Mile Roads) Friday, December 17th at 10am. Friends may visit Thursday, December 16th, 4-7pm. Burial will be in White Chapel Cemetery, Troy.

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