November 28, 1929 - May 22, 2017
On Monday, May 22, 2017, Gilbert James Thiel, 87, of Medford, Oregon, passed away peacefully at home. With his daughter at his side, he took his Savior's hand and went to his home in Heaven where he is now alive again with his loved ones who have gone before him.
Gil was born in Wahpeton, N. D. November 28, 1929, to Nicholas and Margaret Thiel; he was fifth in a family of nine siblings.
In 1947 Gil enlisted in the National Guard of North Dakota where he served until April, 1949. He was honorably discharged and quickly enlisted in the U.S. Air Force. During his service with the U.S.A.F., Gil trained and became a Radio Operator. It was his certification in Radio Operations that eventually brought him to the Rogue Valley. After the Korean War began, RDO and DF stations were reactivated, and Gil was transferred to Medford. Gil met and married Joann Leisher April 25, 1951 in Medford. Jo remained the love of his life for nearly 60 years.
After their marriage the couple followed Gil’s Air Force service north where Gil was stationed at Ladd AFB in Fairbanks, Alaska during the last two years of his military service. Gil was honorably discharged from the United States Air Force Oct. 31, 1952 with a rank of Airman 1st Class.
After his discharge Gil and Jo returned to Medford where the couple began their family. They had two daughters, Michelle in 1953 and Darcy in 1955. Gil did odd jobs until he was hired by the FAA as an Air Traffic Controller. As they followed Gil’s early career with the FAA, the couple relocated to Sacramento, Calif., and Reno, Nev., eventually returning to Medford. Gil settled in as an air traffic controller for the Medford Airport. Gil served the FAA for 30 years until his retirement.
Gil became a grandfather to six granddaughters, and later became a great-grandfather to 11 great-grandchildren with a twelfth great-grandson due this August. At the time of his death Gil was expecting his first great-great-grandson, due in October, 2017.
Gil loved history in all forms; studying, reading and exploring. He extensively toured the early battlefields of the Civil War and the early Indian Wars, visiting monuments and landmarks of all the wars. He liked animals of every kind, he enjoyed golfing, picnicking, and reading. In his later years his primary love became walking. During his daily walks he met people and their pets, making a long list of friends along the way.
Gil will be missed by his daughter, Michelle and his son-in-law, Michael Neuenschwander of Medford; his son-in-law, Greg Shea of Fairview, Ore.; his brothers, Albert (Sonny) Thiel of Fergus Falls, Minn. and Nicholas Thiel of Oregon City, Ore.'; all of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren; family; friends; neighbors; and people he had association with, all too numerous to count.
Gil was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Monica “Jo” Thiel; his daughter, Darcy Shea; two brothers, Alden (Bud) Thiel and Melvin Thiel; and four sisters, Arleen (Sis) Connors; Joan Alice Thiel; Elizabeth (Dolly) Fallwell; and Donna Simpson.
A Celebration of Life will be held at 2:00 p.m Saturday, June 24, 2017 in the Chapel at Perl Funeral Home, 2100 Siskiyou Blvd., Medford. There will be an Open House for guests to gather, the address will be announced at the end of the service. Memorial contributions may be made to Providence Hospice, Medford, Ore.