Ralph Richard "Dick" Gobel

March 8, 1939 ~ February 7, 2024 (age 84) 84 Years Old

Ralph Gobel Obituary

Ralph Richard “Dick” Gobel was born to Ralph Andrew Gobel and Molly Wilma Pavlicek Gobel on March 8, 1939, at the Lynch Clinic in Fairbury. He died Feb. 7, 2024, at Jefferson Community Health & Life Gardenside in Fairbury.

Dick contracted polio in 1948 when he was 9. While hospitalized in Lincoln, NE, he received Sister Elizabeth Kenny treatments consisting of hot wool wraps and an exercise regimen. These treatments were successful, and after one month, he was released to return home.

In the 1950s, he worked at various jobs in the local area, including Bilby’s Feed Store, Grainger Bros. Warehouse, Endicott Clay Products Company, Capital Bridge Company of Lincoln, and he spent two summers as a fireman on the Rock Island Railroad, occasionally firing on the Rock Island “Rocket.” He also worked for Charles Churchill helping to repair radio and television sets.

Dick attended Fairbury’s public schools, and he graduated with the Fairbury High School (FHS) class of 1957. At Fairbury Junior College (FJC), he was a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honorary society for two-year colleges, and he graduated in 1959 with an associate degree in pre-engineering.

On April 10, 1959, Dick was united in marriage to Maureen Veatch at Red Cloud, NE. Their only child, daughter Erin Elizabeth, was born on March 19, 1979.

Dick earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Kansas State University (KSU) in 1961. During his studies there, he was a member of both the Phi Kappa Phi honorary society for scholarly achievement and the KSU Pi Mu Epsilon mathematics honorary for superior achievement in the field of mathematics. After graduating from KSU, Dick taught physics, chemistry, mathematics, and physical science at FHS for three years.           

In 1964, he and Maureen moved to Tempe, AZ, to pursue their master’s degrees at Arizona State University. Dick received a grant to participate in the prestigious Academic Year Institute for Secondary Teachers, which was sponsored annually by the National Science Foundation. He was one of only 35 participants who were selected from more than 1,000 applicants. Through this program, he earned a Master of Natural Science degree in physics and electronics in 1965, and he graduated summa cum laude.

Dick returned to Fairbury and taught mathematics for seven years at FJC. In addition, he served as chair of the department of mathematics and science starting in 1970. He also continued his education by taking classes at the University of Nebraska College of Law.

In 1974, he resigned his position at FJC and enrolled at Cleveland Chiropractic College in Kansas City, MO. He graduated with a Doctor of Chiropractic degree in 1977, and he built a clinic next to his home in Fairbury where he practiced until his retirement in 2000.

Dick’s main hobby was ham radio, and he enjoyed it for almost 70 years after receiving his initial FCC license in 1954 at age 15. He held an Amateur Extra Class license, the highest-rated license for ham radio, and he was very proud of his ham radio call sign KØUS. Dick was a graduate of the National Radio Institute of Washington, D.C., a Life Member of The American Radio Relay League, and a Life Member of the Quarter Century Wireless Association.

Amongst his very close friends, Dick prided himself upon being a raconteur, or a person who tells anecdotes and stories in a skilled and amusing way. He was gifted with a unique sense of humor, and he loved to laugh and to make Maureen and Erin laugh, too.

He is survived by his daughter Dr. Erin French of Ames, IA. Preceding him in death were his brother-in-law Ray Clifford, his cousin Ernest Pavlicek, his brother-in-law Dr. Maurice Veatch, and his wife Maureen.

In accordance with his wishes, a private inurnment will be held later at the Fairbury Cemetery. Dick was an avid reader and a lifelong animal lover, and to celebrate his life, his family encourages you to donate to your local library or to an animal shelter of your choice. Condolences may be left online at Harman-Wright Mortuary & Crematory in Beatrice in charge of arrangements.

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