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Gerald J. Kabel

December 31, 1926 June 16, 2019
Gerald J. Kabel
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Obituary for Gerald J. Kabel

Gerald J. Kabel “Jerry” died on June 16, 2019 at a retirement community in Novi, Michigan. He was 92 years old.

Jerry was born in the Netherlands on December 31, 1926 to Gerald and Johanna (Schrama) Kabel. Jerry’s father immigrated to the United States first and in 1929, Jerry and his mother followed. Initially the family lived with relatives in Berkley, Michigan. Eventually the family moved to Mt. Clemens, where his father bought a farm where he grew soft wheat, tulips and other nursery crops.

Jerry attended school in Mt. Clemens and upon graduation from Mt. Clemens High School in 1944, Jerry was drafted into the Army. Jerry was in training at Ft. Lewis, Washington when the war in the Pacific ended and he was discharged. He headed back to Michigan and began his college studies at the University of Michigan. After two years of study, he took a break to travel out west to work and explore. Upon returning to Michigan he completed his undergraduate degree at Wayne State University in Detroit.

Having completed his studies, Jerry began his career first as a reporter at the Mt. Clemens newspaper and after a few years moved on to work as a reporter and columnist for The Detroit Times. In 1962, Jerry and the family moved to the Washington, D. C. area where he had been offered a position as Press Secretary to Michigan’s U.S. Senator Philip A. Hart.

Jerry considered it a great privilege to serve on the staff of Senator Hart, a man of great probity and legislative skill. In his capacity as Press Secretary, Jerry worked diligently in support of Senator Hart’s leadership efforts that secured the passage of the Voting Rights Act, which was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1965. Jerry was particularly honored to be selected by the Senator to serve as staff to the National Commission on the Causes and Prevention of Violence which issued its report in 1969. As one who cherished the beauty of northern Michigan the Senator was successful in securing the establishment of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Jerry was instrumental in securing support from residents in the vicinity of the proposed Lakeshore as well as responding to those who had concerns about the establishment of the Park. Jerry and his family visited Sleeping Bear Dunes often and climbing Sleeping Bear became a family tradition.

In 1973, the family moved to Michigan where Jerry was offered the position of Director of Public Information for Michigan Consolidated Gas (known colloquially as “Mich Con”). Subsequently, in 1976, he was elected as Vice President of American Natural Resources, the parent company of Mich Con. Among his most significant accomplishments in his work for ANR was securing the approvals needed for the construction in North Dakota of the nation’s first coal gasification plant. Approvals were required at several levels including from the Federal government, the North Dakota legislature and the Native American tribes in the area.

In 1986, Jerry retired from ANR when it was purchased by Coastal Corp. Enjoying time with his children and grandchildren occupied many of his days, as did pheasant hunting in Michigan’s thumb and traveling with his wife, Clare. Trips included United States National Parks, white water rafting in British Columbia as well as an extensive tour of Canada’s Maritime Provinces and Newfoundland. Trips to Kenya, Costa Rica, Panama and many countries in Western Europe were among his most enjoyed jaunts.

Jerry married Carolyn Heckman in 1952; they were later divorced. They had three children: Geoffrey H. Kabel (Laura), Margo L. Kabel who survive him and Terry D. Kabel (Ginger). His son Terry preceded him in death. Jerry married Clare Cunningham in 1967 and she survives him. They had two children: Christopher M. Kabel (Olga) and Derek D. Kabel who survive him as do six grandchildren and one step grandson. His sisters Joan Ciaramitaro and Trudy Blascik survive him. His sister Wilma Henry and brother Robert Kabel predeceased him.

A Funeral Service for Jerry will be held at Christ Church Cranbrook, Bloomfield Hills, 470 Cranbrook Road, in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan on July 6, 2019 at 11 am. Family will receive friends before the service in the Guild Hall next to the church beginning at 10 am before the service. Jerry’s family requests that any memorial donations be sent to Lighthouse of Michigan, 46156 Woodward Avenue, Pontiac MI 48342. Or Christ Church Cranbrook.


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