Cover photo for Robertine E. Gatchel's Obituary
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Robertine E. Gatchel

February 28, 1919 — October 20, 2018

Robertine E. Gatchel

Robertine E. Gatchel, 99, of Garner passed away Saturday, October 20, 2018 at Concord Care Center in Garner.

Funeral services will be held 10:30 A.M., Friday, October 26th at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Garner with Pastor Scott Kozisek officiating. Burial will be at Concord Township Cemetery.

Visitation will be held from 5 to 7 P.M., Thursday at the Cataldo Funeral Chapel, 160 E. 4th St., in Garner and will resume one hour prior to services at the church.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to St Paul Lutheran or Garner Volunteer Ambulance Service.

Robertine Elizabeth Gatchel, the daughter of William and Lena (Haes) Ziesmer, was born February 28, 1919, in Garner, Iowa. Garner was her beloved hometown for 97 of her 99 years of life—a life rich with faith, family, friendships, and a zest for living. Coupled with a joyful spirit, Robertine's strength, humor, and gumption were as admired as the uniqueness of her name, which sparked fun conversations wherever she went. Robertine grew up in a family of seven children, a family she loved. She graduated from Garner High School in 1936, then enrolled in the Normal Training Course. As a country school teacher for four years in Concord and Liberty Townships, she did it all: taught students at all grade levels, stoked the furnace, washed the floors and taught her beautiful handwriting in the Palmer Method. A sample of her letters remains on display today in the schoolhouse museum in Kanawha, IA. In the midst of World War II, Robertine left her job as a Northwestern Bell telephone operator to marry her "forever love" Clarence Gatchel, whom she met in high school. They married February 1, 1942, in Yuma, Arizona. Robertine worked in Seattle for two years. After Clarence came home from serving his country, they lived in Garner. Robertine and Clarence were true partners, sharing a deep devotion to their children and extended families. When Clarence passed away too early in 1970, Robertine's faith and resilience came into play. She pledged to "never say no" to living life to the fullest. And that she did. Continuing her love of life, she loved to dance, played a mean hand of bridge, was active in Homemaker's Club and Recital Club, golfed, traveled and enjoyed morning coffee with her 7th Street friends. Robertine treasured the time spent with her grandchildren and great grandchildren. After working in the Hancock County Auditor's Office, she ran a successful door-to-door campaign and was elected County Recorder, a position she held for 10 years until her retirement. Robertine loved working with the public.

Robertine was a member of St. Paul Lutheran Church for 99 years where she was baptized, confirmed, taught Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, belonged to the LWML, and through the years welcomed numerous new pastors into the community. She was proud to be the oldest member of St. Paul.

Robertine is survived by her two daughters: Kay E. (Marv) Wellik of Mesa, AZ, and Robbie (Richard) Malm of Des Moines, IA; four grandchildren: Andrew (Kristin) Wellik of Tucson, AZ; Christian (Cristy) Wellik of Chandler, AZ; Jonathan (Maggie) Malm of Fulton, MD; and Kathryn (Nate) Cloe of Des Moines; five great-grandchildren: Bradley Wellik and Ashley Wellik; Ella and Lucy Malm; and Marshall and Caroline Cloe; a sister Doris (Dean) Goll of Garner; a brother-in-law Jim Gatchel of Garner; a sister-in-law, Emma Lou (Lynn) Stayner of Hampton, IA; and many nieces and nephew.

She was preceded in death by her parents; husband; her beloved granddaughter Margaret "Meggie" Malm; and five siblings: Ruth (David) Rystrom, Lucille (Ronald) Yohn, Marvin (Ellamae) Ziesmer, Leland (Virginia) Ziesmer, and Jeanne (Clinton) Stille
To send flowers to the family in memory of Robertine E. Gatchel, please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Thursday, October 25, 2018

5:00 - 7:00 pm (Central time)

Cataldo Funeral Home - Garner Chapel

160 East 4th Street, Garner, IA 50438

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Friday, October 26, 2018

Starts at 10:30 am (Central time)

St. Paul Lutheran Church

810 State Street, Garner, IA 50438

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