Fay Gemmell Obituary
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In Memory of

Fay L. Gemmell

January 14, 1921 - March 22, 2013
Obituary

Fay Lincoln Gemmell, 92, of Keene passed away with grace and ease at Genesis HealthCare on March 22, 2013. He was surrounded by his family and died peacefully soon after Hospice Chaplain, Nancy Wood, arrived and gave him a heartfelt, traditional blessing. Born in Milford, Nebraska on January 14, 1921, to Faye and Iva (Ficke) Gemmell, he grew up on a Nebraska farm where he was deeply affected by the expansiveness and loneliness of the Nebraska prairies. At an early age, his love of learning and his search for universal truths became his life companions. He worked his way through college, graduating with a bachelor's degree from...
Fay Lincoln Gemmell, 92, of Keene passed away with grace and ease at Genesis HealthCare on March 22, 2013. He was surrounded by his family and died peacefully soon after Hospice Chaplain, Nancy Wood, arrived and gave him a heartfelt, traditional blessing.

Born in Milford, Nebraska on January 14, 1921, to Faye and Iva (Ficke) Gemmell, he grew up on a Nebraska farm where he was deeply affected by the expansiveness and loneliness of the Nebraska prairies. At an early age, his love of learning and his search for universal truths became his life companions. He worked his way through college, graduating with a bachelor's degree from Nebraska Wesleyan University in Lincoln. He received his master of divinity degree from Boston University School of Theology, and, in midlife, he earned his doctor of ministry degree from Andover Newton Theological School in Newton, Mass.

An ordained United Methodist minister, he served churches in Nebraska, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire for 21 years, the last six being in Keene at Grace United Methodist Church. Fay was the first ecumenical campus minister at Keene State College and worked there from 1963 to 1986. After retiring from the campus ministry that he loved so much, he served as a chaplain for the Cheshire Dartmouth Hitchcock Hospital and for southwestern New Hampshire Hospice. In addition, Fay was a pastoral counselor for 25 years with MAPS Counseling Services. There he was a pioneer in private industry on-site counseling, working three years at Peterborough Ball Bearings and seventeen years at Millipore Corp in Jaffrey. For 26 years, he wrote a weekly column, Proxy Pulpit, which appeared in the Saturday edition of The Keene Sentinel. He wrote of the comings and goings, the ups and downs of everyday life through which he expressed spiritual messages. He challenged his readers to "feel" God rather than be exclusively tied to specific religious beliefs and to embody the spirit of interconnection. His compassionate presence as a community minister helped an enormous number of people through both joyous and tragic times. Fay's tent was big enough to hold everyone. He was all-inclusive, welcoming people of all religious persuasions, people with various social values, the rich and the poor, the young and the old. He was the minister to everyone.

His life was highly influenced by the lives of Abraham Lincoln, Carl Jung, and Martin Luther King. He was a free thinker who thought outside the norm, always questioning, growing and learning. He loved life, and he felt that what truly matters is being caring and doing unto others as you would have them do unto you. Fay's retirement enabled him to spend more time with his wife of 59 years, Charlotte, and their grown children and grandchildren, and to enjoy his other passions. He was a voracious reader, a poet; a masterful gardener, a world traveler, and a man who loved to sing and laugh. He was always working on a creative project, and he took great delight in his talking African gray parrot, Prince, and his miniature daschund, Madchen. He felt blessed to live in Keene and was often seen witnessing life and connecting with people at his hangouts – Timolean's, Swanzey Diner, The Pub, and Panera's . It was always special to go out for breakfast or coffee with Fay. His family feels great joy that he was and will continue to be a part of their lives.

Both his wife, Charlotte, and his son, Jon, predeceased Fay. Survivors include daughter-in-law, Marilyn Gemmell, of Keene; son, Joel Gemmell, and his wife, Carol Resch, of Washington, DC; daughter, Krista Gemmell Harris, and her husband, Brad, of Seattle; daughter, Heather Watterson, and her husband, Kevin, of Keene; son, Mark, and his wife, Jodi Williams, of Minneapolis; brother, Jack Gemmell, and his wife, Lorraine, of Sidney, Nebraska; sister, Phyllis, of Kearney, Nebraska; sister, Carol, of Brule, Nebraska; nine wonderful grandchildren and two adored great grandchildren.

Family and friends are invited to call at the Foley Funeral Home, 49 Court Street, Keene, on Friday, April 5th, from 4 to 7 p.m. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, April 6, at 1:00 p.m. at the United Church of Christ, 23 Central Square, Keene.

Should friends desire, memorial contributions may be sent to the charity of their choice.

"I always looked up to Fay as a pioneer and as one who was on the growing edge for United Methodists in New Hampshire. He reminded us of what really..."

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