We were saddened to learn of the recent death of long-time GCI pastor Roger Abels.
Roger passed away at age 66 on May 16. He was born on June 6, 1949 in Omaha, Nebraska, the son of the late Glenn and Alice Abels. Roger retired after 42 years as a GCI pastor, having served in Philadelphia, Chicago, Louisville, Kalamazoo, and (for 25 years) Fort Wayne, Indiana.
Roger is survived by his wife Donna of Fort Wayne, his daughters Jessica (Travis) McClure and Courtney (Mark) Harmon of Fort Wayne, his son Travis Abels of Portland, six grandchildren, a brother and a sister. Roger was preceded in death by a son, Brandon Abels, and by a sister.
Funeral services will be on Friday, May 20 at 1:00pm at Hockemeyer and Miller Funeral Home in Fort Wayne, with calling one hour prior; GCI Pastor Jim Valekis will officiate. Calling will also be on Thursday, May 19 from 2-4 and 6-8pm at the funeral home.
Here are excerpts from tributes posted on Facebook by Roger’s children:
- From Roger’s daughter, Courtney Abels Harmon
Dad passed away yesterday in the most peaceful way any of us could chose—after the words “amen” and while being embraced by his family. Thank you for your prayers. God answered them though some of the answers weren’t what we wanted. There is no doubt that Dad is with Jesus. That was what he wanted the most!
- From Roger’s daughter, Jessica Abels McClure
Daddy, as much as you “loved life,” you never lived for earthly rewards because you understood this was simply your temporary home. You lived your life with an unshakable assurance of what comes next. May you experience the unimaginable joy of being with our Heavenly Father, as you so much looked forward to doing. Thank you for dedicating your life to teaching not only your family, but hundreds of others the grace and peace that comes with knowing our Lord and Savior.
- From Roger’s son, Travis Abels
Thank you Dad for taking us on camping trips, and showing us how to pick out a good walking stick. For being so easy to laugh, and filling our house with its echo, for so many years. Thank you for kissing mom every day, and yelling “emergency, emergency!” when you needed an immediate hug. For your strong arms, that cherished hard work, planting gardens, and playing basketball with your kids. For your adventurous spirit. Your tenacity. Your wisdom. Your tenderness. For all the late nights you stayed up with me making popcorn, and sneaking ice cream from the outside fridge.
Thank you for telling me “A poor man’s cloud is just as beautiful as rich man’s cloud,” and giving me my first beer after a long day of work in the yard. For your diamond-blue eyes, that so lovingly watched us, and your gentle smile, when we looked back at you. For showing us that it was okay to cry, and reminding us to never let the sun go down on our anger. Thank you, Pops, for being my favorite storyteller, and painting worlds with your words. For using those words to lead, to heal, to inspire laughter and understanding. For being a courageous example of what faith can do, and showing us what a good man looked like. For spreading your light so far and wide.
Please be in prayer for Roger’s wife Donna, for their children, the rest of the family and close friends. Cards may be sent to:
1827 Ransom Dr.
Ft Wayne, IN 46845