Tressa Gabriel, age 90, of Philip, died Tuesday, January 1, 2013, at the Hans P. Peterson Memorial Hospital in Philip.
Tressa Belle Coleman was born October 24, 1922, in Woodbine, Iowa, the daughter of Orrin Wesley and Goldia Belle (Thomas) Coleman. She lived near Pisgah, Iowa with her parents and older sister Erma, until they left their home in the Loess Hills to move to Haakon County Northwest of Philip, South Dakota, at the age of eight years. They traveled at 45 mph in the Model T Ford while their personal belongings and livestock were shipped to Cottonwood, South Dakota, on the train.
Here on the farm, she helped milk cows, herd sheep, with chores raising hogs and gardening. Her mother taught her to preserve vegetables and to prepare wholesome meals.
Tressa attained an eighth grade education at North Lincoln School. Being too far to walk, they rode horseback when the weather permitted. In cold, snowy weather Tressa had a room and boarded at Axel Olson’s.
An experience she and Erma talked about often, was Erma taking a rein from her horse’s bridle to kill a rattlesnake while she was on the horse – something she did often. One time, the snake caught in the rein hooks, and the horses spooked and ran full speed home with the snake flying in the air behind.
Tressa met her lifetime partner when Floyd Gabriel arrived at her parents’ to purchase some hay. Floyd and Tressa developed a companionship that lasted a lifetime. Coleman’s were concerned about Tressa and Floyd dating. For them to go anywhere, it was necessary to take Erma and Frank, (Floyd’s brother), along as chaperones.
Tressa and Floyd were married March 17, 1941, in Philip. They went to Iowa and Nebraska to visit relatives for a honeymoon. Quote of Floyd’s taken from Tressa’s Bride’s Book. “We got home in fine shape and found everything was o.k. We were a little wiser but just as foolish and wished our honeymoon to continue indefinitely.”
This marriage was truly made in Heaven. They were business partners as well. At first they summered sheep for neighbors as well as themselves on land for which they borrowed money to purchase. When Floyd was away helping neighbors whose family member was serving in the war, Tressa was responsible for their business. After Beverly was born, Tressa loaded her on the saddle and took her to tend the sheep all day long. Their only rest was a nap in the shade of the sheep wagon while the sheep bedded down by water during the heat of the day.
When Tressa was in late pregnancy with Larry, Mom, leading Beverly, took a sheep buyer to view the herd. He told Floyd “You want too much for your sheep, but I feel sorry for your wife so I’ll give you what you want.”
Cattle replaced the sheep in their business. Tressa still rode horseback. “Dixie” her mare, was still very important in her life.
In addition to Beverly and Larry, a sister Ruby brightened Tressa’s life. In 1981, Floyd, Tressa and Ruby began traveling the U.S. Tressa enjoyed continued trips, collecting state plates and shot glasses while seeing most of the continental U.S. and part of Canada. Tressa became an excellent map reader, instructing Ruby where to turn. Branson, Missouri was the highlight of her trips.
She was active in the Dowling Community Church where she was baptized. She was treasurer for many years.
Tressa’s hobbies include playing the piano, which was purchased in 1956 to replace the pump organ which she played by ear. She also played the violin, embroidered, scrapbooked her children’s activities and trips, and enjoyed reading historical fiction.
Leaving to mourn her loss, are her three children Beverly Hamann and her husband Herb of Clear Lake, Larry Gabriel and his wife Charlotte of Quinn, and Ruby Gabriel of Pedro; a double niece Cindy Nuzum of Buffalo; four grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren.
Tressa was preceded in death by her husband Floyd on February 5, 1998, her parents, her only sibling Erma Gabriel, and two great-grandchildren.
Visitation will be held one hour preceding the services at the church on Monday.
Funeral services will be held 2:00 p.m. Monday, January 7, 2013, at the United Methodist Church in Wall, with Pastor Harold Delbridge officiating.
Interment will be at the Wall Cemetery.
A memorial has been established.
Arrangements are with the Rush Funeral Chapel of Wall.
Her online guestbook is available at www.rushfuneralhome.com