Herkimer resident Colonel Anthony J. Gabriel, Jr., U.S. Army Ret., age 90, joined his loving wife and son in heaven on Sunday, July 26, 2020.
Anthony was born in Little Falls, NY, on March 24th, 1930, the youngest child of Anthony Gabriele Sr. and Rose (Maphia). His siblings: Ferris, Joseph, James, Paul, Angie and Yolanda predeceased him. He attended Little Falls schools and was a proud member of the Class of ’48 and its undefeated championship football team. His passing reunites him with his dear childhood friends, Robert “Razzy” Rathbun, John “Jack” Duffy and Donald “Bummer” Buckley, whom he missed dearly.
On June 19th, 1954, he married Patricia (Lonis) and was a beloved father of 6 daughters: Julie (Goodman) of Herkimer, Lori Knapp (John) of Frankfort, Mary Gabriel of Herkimer, Gina (Vandenberg) of Herkimer, Patricia Wielt (Michael) of Glenville and Cynthia Gabriel of Herkimer. He often proudly stated, “I raised them like boys, to be strong women!” He was predeceased by his wife Patricia in 2004, after a joyous union of 49 years. He grieved the loss of his darling infant son, Anthony J. Gabriel III in 1957, and his precious granddaughter, Elayne Lynn Goodman, in 1985. Anthony adored his 10 grandchildren; singles, twins and triplets and, at last count, 26+ great-grandchildren! He was comforted daily by his feline roommates: Caesar Augustus, Spartacus and Baby, who also grieve along with us. He leaves behind four dear sisters-in-law: Christine Gabriel, Eleanor Hanley, Marge Lonis and Janet Atutis, along with many cherished nieces, nephews and godchildren.
Colonel Gabriel honorable and proudly served our nation for a total of 36 years, enlisting as a buck Private in 1948 and retiring as a full Colonel in 1984. He performed at an exemplary level during his time in the European Theater, Korean War zones and while training his successors.
In 1948, Anthony was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division, Company B, 1st Battalion, 18th Regiment in Lenggries, Germany. His assignment list was extensive and included courier of classified documents from Division HQ to Division Rear during maneuvers.
He was a graduate of numerous military schools including: Noncommissioned Officers School, Ft. Dix, NJ, Officer Candidate School, Ft. Riley, KS, Officer Basic and Advanced Infantry School, Ft. Benning, GA, completed Maintenance & Logistics course, Ft. Knox, KY, with additional duties as Company Commander of Company G 47th Infantry Division at Ft. Rucker, AL.
He was shipped to Japan in 1953, where he attended CBR (chemical/biological/radiological warfare) School. Upon graduation, he was sent to Korea as Company Commander HQ-HQ Company, 2nd Amphibious Combat Support Brigade in Tong Nae.
Following a reduction in forces, Anthony returned to the U.S. and was placed in charge of a guard detail which brought 40 American prisoners home from Japan. He was later sworn in as a lifetime reservist. Just prior to the Kuwait War, the Pentagon requested his expertise to train and select the best qualified units to send to Kuwait.
Anthony served as Chief Instructor for 1157 U.S.A.R. School in both Schenectady and Utica, NY and for Command and General Staff College, Ft. Leavenworth, KS.
He has served on all levels of command and staff: 1st U.S. Army, Ft. Mead, MD, 167 Corp. Support Command, Montgomery, AL, Ft. Drum Logistics Group, Watertown, NY. and the Mississippi National Guard.
He served with “Big Red One” in Germany and numerous regiments of the 1st, 9th 47th, and 98th Infantry Divisions, including the U.S. Eighth Army.
When not wearing his uniform, Anthony has served as a Herkimer Village Trustee, a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, President of the Herkimer Boxing Club, life member of the Little Falls Knights of Columbus and its 4th Degree Council #220, life member and Senior Vice Commander of the D.A.V. Chapter #178 Ilion, NY, life member of the Little Falls American Legion Post #31 and served as President of Skinner-Grogan Chapter #239 Korean War Veterans, of Little Falls and Herkimer.
Anthony helped build many of the structures that are Mohawk Valley landmarks as a proud 64 year member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America. He served as Past President and District Council Delegate for the Carpenter’s Local #3211 for 6 years.
He kept close ties with his military brothers and sisters, as a life member and Post Commander of Herkimer’s Michael S. Pliseck V.F.W. Post #4915. Anthony served on the committee that was the first in the nation to send WWII Veterans to Washington, DC, to visit their WWII Memorial. He remained quite active in fighting for the rights of his fellow veterans, making sure they received the treatment and recognition they deserved. Anthony was a staunch supporter of the Flag Amendment to prevent desecration of the U.S. flag in any form. He was a frequent guest speaker and master of ceremonies for numerous organizations and events, both civilian and military. Herkimer lost its greatest storyteller.
Anthony helped establish the Herkimer County Veterans Memorial Park monument on the Herkimer College campus. His name is one of ten Gabriel Family members’ names etched on the monument honoring his family’s over 110 years of active duty service from World War I to present day.
Colonel Gabriel was enshrined into the New York State Veteran’s Hall of Fame in Albany, NY, on May 19th, 2015. This recognition was bestowed upon Anthony by the Honorable Senator James L. Seward, for being an outstanding veteran from the Empire State who had distinguished himself in both military and civilian life. It was a monumental day for our Dad. Thank you Senator Seward.
Calling Hours will be held on Friday, July 31, 2020 from 3-7 p.m. at the Vincent Enea Funeral Service (next to NBT Bank), 527 East Albany St. Herkimer, 315-866-1500. Due to COVID – 19 regulations only ten at a time will be allowed to pay their respects to the family. We ask that all attending please wear a face mask and be patient as we safely accommodate our guests. A full military burial will commence on Saturday, August 1,2020 at 10 a.m. at St. Mary’s Cemetery, Rt. 5, East Herkimer, where face mask and social distancing is required.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Donor Services, PO Box 98018, Washington DC 20090-8018.
Anthony gave all credit to his departed wife Patricia’s love, devotion and patience, for putting up with his love of the military, noting: “I was a professional soldier, and she understood.” From his March 24th, 2020 birthday announcement in the paper and in his own words: “It’s been my honor and privilege to live this long. I’ve met many people over the years: good, bad and indifferent, from every corner of the world and I remember each and every one of you. I appreciate your companionship in my life. God has been good to me. The next time we meet, we’ll have another party and relive sweet memories together.” A celebration of Anthony’s full and well-lived life will be scheduled at a future non-Covid date, where warm embraces can be freely given again.
Prayers and condolences may be sent to the family at www.vincenteneafuneralservice.com.
To send flowers to Colonel Anthony J. Gabriel, Jr.'s family, please visit our floral store.