Bryan Scott Gabel, 58, Milnor, North Dakota, began his new year in heaven. He passed away on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2020 at Sanford Hospital in Fargo, North Dakota, surrounded by his loving family.
Visitation was held from 3-5 p.m., followed by a 5 p.m. prayer service Sunday, Jan. 5 at St. Arnold’s Catholic Church, Milnor.
The funeral Mass was held at 10:30 a.m. Monday, Jan. 6 at St. Philip’s Catholic Church, Hankinson, North Dakota. Internment will be in the spring at Calvary Cemetery, Hankinson.
Bryan Scott Gabel was born on June 20, 1961 to Gail and Renae (Reinke) Gabel at St. Gerard’s Hospital in Hankinson. Bryan was a member of St. Philip’s Catholic Church in Hankinson, where he was baptized and confirmed. He attended school his first four years at St. Francis Academy Catholic School. When St. Francis closed, he attended Hankinson Public School and graduated in 1979. During his high school career, he was an avid athlete, participating in all sports. He held an American Legion Baseball record for the most home runs hit in a single season.
After graduation, he worked for the Soo Line Railroad while attending what is now North Dakota State College of Science in Wahpeton. He earned his associate’s degrees in applied science, which included insurance and real estate management, and auto mechanics. He then attended what is now Bismarck State College, Bismarck, North Dakota, where he completed the electrical lineman’s program. He was hired by Northern States Power Company in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Bryan was united in marriage to Pamela Jean Oster on Dec. 27, 1986 at St. Boniface Catholic Church in Lidgerwood. They made their home in Brooklyn Park, Minnesota, while Bryan continued to work as a lineman for Northern States Power Company. Their first son, Brady John, was born in 1988 in Fridley, Minnesota.
The family moved to Milnor in 1988 when Bryan accepted a lineman position with RSR, which is now known as Dakota Valley Electrical Co-op. He worked until spring 2018, despite his illness, because he loved his job. Brandon Scott and Haley Renae were born in 1990 and 1994.
Bryan was an active member of St. Arnold’s Catholic Church in Milnor. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, served as eucharistic minister, was president of the church council and taught religious education classes for many years.
Bryan’s hobbies included hunting, fishing, working on old cars, gardening, woodworking, doing yard work and enjoying all sports. For many years he coached T-ball, little league baseball and elementary and junior high basketball. He also drove school bus for school activities. His belief was to give every child a chance to play as they all develop at different rates. Providing equal playing time for all and teaching the value of teamwork was more important to him than any victory.
Bryan was a devoted son. He continued to help his father lay bricks throughout his brick laying career and enjoyed canning with his mother, along with helping her with other projects. His greatest passion and love were for his wife, children and granddaughters. His love was unconditional.
Bryan was diagnosed with stage 4, non-small cell lung cancer Christmas of 2012. Never being a smoker and always living a healthy lifestyle made the diagnosis a shock, but spurred Bryan to become a cancer advocate. He wanted to reduce the stigma around lung cancer and bring awareness to the fact that anyone can get lung cancer. Even though he was given just a few months prognosis, Bryan beat the odds and survived seven years. During this journey, he joined numerous lung cancer support groups and mentored other cancer patients by encouraging and inspiring them. He was chosen to speak at Relay for Life and Cowboy Up. Bryan’s mantra was “Faith, family and friends.” He also told everyone he met, “Hope is a good thing and hope is free.”
Because of his positive determination throughout his journey, he never looked at a scan, listened to a statistic, lost his sense of humor or wavered in his faith. He continued to demand treatment until the end. Bryan beat the battle against cancer because the cancer died with his earthly body, but Bryan lives on for eternity in heaven.
Bryan is survived by his wife, Pamela; his three children: Brady (Caitlin) Gabel, Missoula, Montana, Brandon (Biajia) Gabel, Hastings, Minnesota, Haley Gabel, Missoula; two granddaughters: Violet and Basia Gabel; mother, Renae Gabel, Hankinson; siblings: Barbara (Kenneth) Pankow, Hankinson, Brenda (Kevin) Oster, Lidgerwood, North Dakota, Bradley (Pamela) Gabel, Sussex, Wisconsin, Brent (Darcy) Gabel, Wagner, South Dakota, Becky (Bryan) Erickson, Cottage Grove, Minnesota; mother-in-law, Romelle Oster, Lidgerwood; sister-in-law, Sharlene (Jim) Holmy, Lidgerwood; and by many aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews.
Bryan was preceded in death by his father, Gail Gabel; sister, Bethany Gabel; and father-in-law, Wilfred Oster.
Frank Family Funeral Home was in charge of funeral arrangements.