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Margaret Marie (Gremel) Himsel, 86, died peacefully at Middlesex Hospital surrounded by her loving family on Dec. 14. Margaret, known to family and friends as Marna, was born on May 5, 1933, in Sebewaing, Michigan, to Arthur and Virginia (Amerman) Gremel, the oldest of four siblings: Richard, Karen, Tom and Cheryl.
Marna graduated from Arthur Hill High School in Saginaw, Michigan, in 1951 and from the Saginaw General Hospital School of Nursing in 1955. She married her high school sweetheart, Donald Himsel, in 1955 and they began their life together as Don began his service in the Air Force. The newlyweds’ daughter Carol was born while in the service and Don Jr. eight years later.
As was customary at the time, Marna raised her growing family and followed Don’s corporate career. Although she had a deep fondness for her Michigan roots, she loved the Connecticut shore. She spent many hours at the beach with family and friends after moving to Madison, a town where she and her family lived for almost two decades. She and her husband were fortunate to travel together for his work, making trips across North America, Hawaii, and Europe. They spent their retired years in Essex to be near their children and grandchildren.
Marna’s family was her world. She was always there for them, unfailingly, putting her husband and children above all else. She instilled her love of reading to her young son with weekly trips to Madison’s Scranton Library, returning home with bags of books. She passed on her love and skill of knitting to her daughter Carol. At home, her word was law. She ran a tight ship and was not shy about making her thoughts known. She had high expectations for politeness and respect for others from her children, and with an all-out effort by them in every task.
Her family will remember times spent together at her parent’s cottage on Michigan’s Bear Lake, boat trips together on the Connecticut River, and steam train rides with her grandchildren in Essex. Marna always had a sandwich ready for her children’s friends when they dropped by. She made sure the youngsters’ birthdays included balloons on the mailbox, her famous spaghetti sauce, and their favorite chocolate cake. The Christmases she orchestrated for her family meant sugar-rolled, walnut-stuffed dates and springerle cookies, a hand-made pinecone wreath on the front door, and flawlessly wrapped presents.
Marna would anxiously await winter’s snow but fretted over its cold. She cherished the view of the large forsythia that bloomed early each spring. Besides reading, she enjoyed needlework, knitting, puzzles of all sorts, auto racing, and had an everlasting affection for their beloved family dog, Charlie Brown. Marna was generous, wise, and loved butter pecan ice cream. As the years passed, sage advice was always available no matter what the issue at hand might be, whether it was welcome or not. Marna’s counseling was grounded in a lifetime of challenge, triumph, and caring. Her expectations were high. Her love was boundless.
Marna leaves behind the love of life, her husband Donald of Essex; daughter Dr. Carol Himsel Daly of Ivoryton; son Donald C. Himsel, Jr., of Hudson, New Hampshire; grandson Geoffrey Tucker Himsel of Manchester, New Hampshire; granddaughter Erin-Katherine Himsel Daly of Deep River; granddaughter Ann Joy Daly of Millbury, Massachusetts; grandson Austin Donald Himsel; and granddaughter Olivia Kay Himsel of New Boston, New Hampshire.
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