Richard A. 'Dick' Gemmel - Murchison, Texas

Richard Gemmel

Richard "Dick" A. Gemmel, 73, Murchison, Texas, ascended to his new position on Sunday, Aug. 7, 2011, at 3 a.m. at Hospice of East Texas-Homeplace in Tyler, Texas, as a result of complications following his several year battle against cancer.

Richard was a testament to the power of prayer, having beaten multiple cancers throughout his adult life. As the angels rejoiced in his arrival, family found peace and comfort in his tremendous faith.

Richard was born in Mower County, Oct. 15, 1937, the son of Kenneth and Milda Gemmel. He attended elementary, middle school and high school in Austin, graduating in 1955. He attended Austin Junior College for two years before moving to Winona, where he attended Winona State and received his BBA in Education in 1962. Richard later earned his Master’s Degree from Mankato State Teachers College.

His first teaching position was in Port Huron, Mich. He taught most of his career in Austin, followed by teaching positions in Dallas, Texas, Carrollton, Texas, and upon retirement in 2001 taught in Athens, Texas, as a substitute teacher. Richard was integral in the advanced learning opportunities through public education. Upon retirement in 2001, Richard was awarded the "Texas Congress of Parents and Teachers Honorary Life Membership Award."

Dick was married to Dee in 1958 and celebrated 50 years together in May, 2008. He has been an active member of the First United Methodist Church of Austin, Minn., and Athens, Texas. He has dedicated his life to teaching and public service, serving in various capacities within the church and community. Among his areas of service were Church Board Representative, MYF Youth Leader, Sunday School teacher, Parent-Teacher Association Member, Henderson County Food Pantry volunteer, Meals on Wheels deliverer, Indian Maidens Tribe Leader, coach and mentor.


Richard left a permanent impact on his Minnesota church family by coordinating a "Van Committee" for the purpose of transporting children, youth and seniors to Worship Service and various church activities.

Richard was a cancer survivor who lived every day with intent and purpose. He loved to share his love for Christ through teaching, discussion and example. Choosing daily to be a man dedicated to family, he never missed a recital or ball game. Those who knew Dick experienced first-hand his unique sense of humor, sharing Norwegian jokes with many…a daily "UFFDA!" was always in order and came to be expected. Those who had the blessing of knowing Dick will always remember his love for sports — a HUGE Rangers fan! — his gift for gab, his compassion and service to those less fortunate, and his competitive nature when playing a game of cards.

Richard is survived by his wife of 53 years, Dee Smith Gemmel, Athens, Texas; daughters, Kari Gemmel Brashears, Fate, Texas, and Jennifer Pizana and husband Nicolas, Royce City, Texas; grandchildren, Nathaniel Brashears, Zachary Brashears, Noea Pizana and Jaxon Pizana; mother, Milda, Austin; brothers, David, Eagan, and Michael, Fort Dodge, Iowa.

He was preceded in death by father, Kenneth, and son-in-law, Rick Brashears.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 10, 2011, at The First United Methodist Church, Athens, Texas, with a second service and burial ceremony Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011, at The First United Methodist Church, Austin. Friends may call at the Worlein Funeral Home in Austin from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 12, and one hour prior to the service at the church. Richard’s final resting place will be in Oakwood Cemetery, Austin.

Worlein Funeral Home of Austin is in charge of arrangements.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Sandra J. Schulze American Cancer Society Hope Lodge, 411 2nd St. N.W., Rochester, MN 55901; The First United Methodist Church, Athens, Texas, Fellowship Hall Remodeling Project; or The First United Methodist Church, Austin, Minn., Van Committee.

Condolences may be expressed to the family online at .

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