Galen Eugene “Gib” Gilbert, 86, Columbia City, passed away quietly at his home at 10:20 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 18, 2019. He was born on July 7, 1933, in South Whitley, the son of William Lester and Hulleta M. (Kistler) Gilbert.
He graduated from South Whitley High School with the Class of 1952. He went on to serve his country during the Korean War from 1953-1955 with the United States Army. He married Julia A. (Egolf) on July 5, 1958, in Sidney. He started work at American Tractor and J.I. Case Company until they moved their plant to Iowa and then worked for Bechtold Excavating, Kay Davis before working for Dana Corporation, Fort Wayne for 30 ½ years, retiring in 1992.
After retiring he worked for Whitley County Door & Exterior for 11 years and lastly for Bart’s Car Dealership. Galen was a member of the Blue River Community Church, where he was a former Deacon and current Elder. He was a volunteer fireman for 42 ½ years with Thorncreek Fire Department, where he served as Captain, Assistant Fire Chief, Treasurer, Fire Chief, Arson Investigator, Master Fire Fighter and First Responder. He also was Fire Fighter of the Year in 1985 and 1986, presented by the American Legion. His memberships also included Tri-Lakes Overlander’s Camping Club, American Legion Post #98 and Eagles Lodge #1906.
Survivors including his loving wife of 61 years Julia A. Gilbert, Columbia City; four sons, David E. (Sally) Gilbert, Columbia City; Larry D. (Sharon) Gilbert, Columbia City; Michael W. (Elizabeth) Gilbert, Plainfield; and James L. (Shannon) Gilbert, Auburn; nine grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild on the way; ten siblings including, Ada Rumsey, Churubusco, Eloise Bolinger, South Whitley, Frances Cottrell, North Manchester, Doris Krider, Kimmel, Helen Bowman, Wabash, Wanda Stover, Kokomo, Norma Jean Hogan, Kokomo, Donald (Molly) Gilbert, North Manchester, Gyneth Kethcart, Old Town, FL and Patricia (Hank) Foy, South Whitley. He is preceded in death by his parents and 2 sisters, Mildred Burnett and Phyllis Baker.
Visitation will be held from 2-4 and 6-8 Thursday, Aug. 22, at DeMoney-Grimes, A Life Story Funeral Home, 600 Countryside Drive, Columbia City. Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, Aug. 23, at the funeral home with Pastor Chad Shively and Pastor Elizabeth Gilbert officiating. Burial will follow at South Whitley Cemetery with graveside military rites provided by the Whitley County Korean War Honor Guard. Memorial gifts may be given in Mr. Gilbert’s memory to Heartland Hospice.