John Milton Gabriel, 101, entered eternal life in the early morning hours of Saturday, June 15, 2013 in the comfort of his own home. Mr. Gabriel was born in New Orleans in December of 1911 where he was raised by his parents, John S. Gabriel and Bertha Perez Gabriel, until his father's untimely death in 1914. When he was 9 years old, his mother married his stepfather, Edward G. Falk, who raised and loved him as his own son. Mr. Gabriel was a 1937 graduate of Tulane University, majoring in architecture, and in 2005, he was awarded an honorary Master's degree also from Tulane. After graduation, he married his beautiful and loving wife, Aileene Davis Gabriel. After serving stateside during World War II in the Army Air Corps as a celestial navigation instructor from 1943 to 1946, Mr. Gabriel and his wife took up permanent residence in Lake Charles where Mr. Gabriel worked for several years at Davidson Sash & Door, then Dunn & Quinn, Architects before establishing his own architectural firm. He became known for his meticulous attention to detail and inventive design in his construction projects in Lake Charles and the surrounding area which included private residences, churches, businesses, and many additions and renovations. As architect for the H. C. Drew Estate, he designed many of the manual training school additions to area private and public schools. His last professional contribution was a project close to his heart, serving St. Louis Catholic High School in an advisory capacity for their three phases of renovation and new construction as part of the Opening Windows Capital Campaign. He also worked for 10 years for the state fire marshal's office. Although he closed his office in 1989, he remained active in various professional and service organizations for many additional years. He was past president of both the Kiwanis Club and the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA). He was the recipient of a 50-year membership pin from the Serra Club and remained a member of both the Knights of Columbus and the American Legion until his passing. Mr. Gabriel was much admired and respected in the community both personally and professionally, being known for his kind spirit, gentlemanly manner, and devotion to his Catholic faith. He was a long standing member of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. He will be sorely missed by family, friends, and all who felt privileged to know him during his long and productive life. Mr. Gabriel is survived by two daughters, Dianne Gabriel of Baton Rouge, and Pam Gabriel LeBlanc (Greg) of Lake Charles; one niece, Sandra Petitpain Tregle (Rod) of Lafayette; and one nephew, Douglas Petitpain, III (Sherran) of Houma. He was preceded in death by his parents and his wife of 63 years, Aileene Gabriel. The family wishes to extend special thanks to the caregivers who showed special devotion and caring to our father in his last years: Joyce Malveaux, Gerry Guillory, Evelyn Briscoe, and Juanita Caligone. The importance of their gift of self cannot be overemphasized. Thanks also to the nurses and staff of Christus-St. Patrick Hospice who were a great source of comfort and help. Funeral services will be at 2:00 PM Wednesday, June 19, 2013 at the Cathedral of Immaculate Conception Catholic Church under the direction of Johnson Funeral Home. Monsignor Jace Eskind will officiate. Interment will follow in Consolata Cemetery. Visitation Tuesday will be from 4:00 PM until 8:00 PM with a scripture service and rosary beginning at 6:00 PM. Visitation Wednesday will be from 11:00 AM until 1:15 PM in the funeral home. Memorial donations may be made to the St. Louis Catholic High School Foundation, 1620 Bank St., Lake Charles, LA 70601 or to a charitable organization of choice. Words of comfort to the family may be expressed at www.johnsonfuneralhome.net.
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Published in TheAdvocate.com from June 16 to June 17, 2013