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Nell Fehmel

January 12, 1924 December 17, 2011
Nell Fehmel
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Obituary for Nell Fehmel

Nell Fehmel, of Brookings, joined her Lord Jesus Christ in the early morning hours of December 17, 2011 in Gold Beach with her daughter and son-in-law by her side. She was 87. A Texas girl at heart, Nell was born on January 12, 1924 in Port Arthur, Texas to Fred and Carol (Stanton) Summy. The youngest of five children, she grew up in Dallas and lived there until moving to Brookings. On the paternal side - her grandfather, Wm. Summy, a young Union soldier in the Civil War, was stationed at New Orleans, LA at the end of the war. Remaining in the area, he married a southern belle, Jemima, and became a Methodist minister. The last church he planted and pastored was in Tyler, TX. As the story goes, he told his congregations that he went through the Civil War without a scratch, but when he met Jemima, he was captured in an instant. On the maternal side - her grandmother Stanton (Grimaldi) came directly to New Orleans from Northern Italy with her twin sister and family. Carol, Nell’s mother and a highly gifted pianist, had an opportunity to attend the Juilliard School of Music, but father Stanton would not allow her to move that far away from family. Growing up with music in her home, Nell loved to sing in the church choir and played both the piano and organ. After graduating from Adamson High School, she began her career as a bookkeeper. An early marriage and baby daughter to raise necessitated she work during WWII. She was employed by Austin Bridge Company for a number of years and eventually retired from Gifford-Hill Pipe Company. Nell stayed in touch with several lifelong friends as well as other friends she made along life’s way. She met and married Richard Fehmel on July 1, 1949 after he returned from the war. Coming from large families, they were involved with family (near and far), friends, their Sunday school group, and traveling. She liked to have fun with family and friends. They especially loved their two grandchildren, Rodney & Mindy. Nell also loved and enjoyed being with her two great-granddaughters whenever possible. Her husband, Richard, died in 1993. In addition to her music, she was an avid reader, enjoyed working crossword puzzles and playing solitaire. But even more than those hobbies, her “southern hospitality” was evident as she looked forward to inviting people into her home. There was always room for one more person around the table according to her. Nell relocated to Brookings in 1995 to be near her daughter. She joined the Brookings Church of the Nazarene and also attended Stonecroft’s monthly Christian Women’s Club luncheons. She participated in Stonecroft Ministries’ Bible studies and hosted them in her home for several years. Nell cherished the friendships she made as a result and the new insights she gleaned from God’s Word. Her positive attitude, kindness and perseverance combined with her good sense of humor will be remembered. Survivors include her daughter and son-in-law, Gale and David Lakey, Brookings; grandson Rodney VanWinckel, wife Kathleen, great-granddaughters Keri and Jamie of Walnut Creek, CA, and granddaughter Mindy Hamilton and her husband, Douglas Gustafson of Brookings. Nieces in Texas include Carol McClelland (Wayne) of Houston; Mary Lou Kennedy, Houston; Nell Sparks (David) of Orange; and Fredna Long (Jerry) of Duncanville. In addition to her husband, Nell was preceded in death by three sisters and one brother. Memorial contributions may be made to the Brookings Church of the Nazarene, 1600 Chetco Ave., Brookings, OR 97415 or to the Curry Health Foundation, PO Box 1274, Gold Beach, OR 97444. A graveside service will be held on Thursday, December 29, 2011, 2:00 pm at Laurel Land Cemetery in Dallas, TX. Interment will follow.

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