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Maureen Diane (Veatch) Gobel
August 5, 1939 ~ January 6, 2024 (age 84) 84 Years Old
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Maureen Diane (Veatch) Gobel was born August 5, 1939, at the Lynch Clinic in Fairbury, 30 minutes before her twin brother Maurice, to Dale and Wilma (Annable) Veatch. She died Jan. 6, 2024, at Jefferson Community Health & Life Gardenside in Fairbury.
The twins grew up in a loving home that included their parents and grandmother Nora (Adkins) Annable. Their father operated a plumbing, heating, and well drilling business in Fairbury, starting in 1934 and continuing until shortly before his death in 1969. Their mother, a Jefferson County country schoolteacher for several years, died in 1995.
Maureen married Richard Gobel on April 10, 1959, at Red Cloud, NE, and their only child, daughter Erin Elizabeth, was born on March 19, 1979, at Jefferson County Memorial Hospital in Fairbury.
Maureen attended Fairbury’s public schools, and she graduated from Fairbury High School (FHS) in 1957, Fairbury Junior College (FJC) in 1959, and Kansas State University (KSU) at Manhattan, KS, in 1961. At KSU, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in technical journalism and social science and graduated magna cum laude.
She was employed part-time at the Fairbury Daily News during her high school and junior college days and full-time during the summers. She also covered events and wrote articles while at KSU for The Manhattan Mercury, the daily newspaper of Manhattan, KS.
The first three years after her KSU graduation, Maureen taught journalism at FHS and FJC. In 1964, she and Richard moved to Tempe, AZ, to pursue their master’s degrees, and Maureen earned a Master of Arts in political science from Arizona State University in 1966. She returned to teach at FJC, adding political science and photography to her journalism duties.
When the Nebraska legislature created a statewide community college system in 1973, and FJC became the Fairbury campus of Southeast Community College (SCC), Maureen continued to teach there. She was a leader in the fight to keep SCC-Fairbury open, but it was forcibly merged with SCC-Beatrice in 1986. Maureen spent the final 18 years of her career commuting to work at SCC-Beatrice.
Maureen retired in 2004 after a total of 42 years of teaching at FHS, FJC, SCC-Fairbury, and SCC-Beatrice. She also served as the humanities department chair for 17 years at SCC-Beatrice. Advising the student newspaper and other student publications were part of Maureen’s teaching duties for much of her career. She was either a student staff member or an adviser of a student newspaper in all but three years between her sophomore year in high school and her retirement.
Maureen was honored multiple times for her exceptional teaching and outstanding leadership. In 1996 and 2001, she received the Instructor of the Year award from the SCC-Beatrice Eta Alpha chapter of Phi Theta Kappa honor society. Also in 1996, she received the Nebraska Community College Association Faculty Member of the Year award, representing the SCC area. This award cited “her creative leadership and dedication in developing innovative programs, ensuring quality instruction, and advancing community college ideals.”
She also received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from SCC-Beatrice in 2004, and in 2009, Maureen was one of five people recognized as distinguished alumni by the Nebraska Community College Association, with each recipient representing a community college in the state.
After retirement, Maureen remained connected to education, writing, and research through her hobbies. First, she became a student at SCC-Beatrice and enrolled in multiple ceramics classes. Pottery was one of her many creative pursuits that also included drawing, painting, and photography, and she lovingly decorated her home with her artwork.
She also spent countless hours throughout her retirement researching and documenting her family history, Richard’s family history, and that of several friends. In 2019, she co-wrote Will the Real Lewis Adkins Please Stand Up!: A Journey from Early Virginia to Nebraska, a book about her Adkins ancestors.
Maureen was preceded in death by her stillborn brother Robert Dale in 1936 and by her twin brother Dr. Maurice Veatch in 2020. Survivors include her husband Dr. Richard Gobel of Fairbury, her daughter Dr. Erin French of Ames, IA, and several cousins.
In accordance with her wishes, a private inurnment will be held later at the Fairbury Cemetery. Maureen was a voracious reader and a lifelong animal lover, and to celebrate her life, her family encourages you to donate to your local library or to an animal shelter of your choice. Harman-Wright Mortuary & Crematory in Beatrice in charge of arrangements.