|Iva Louise Gamel, 87, a long time resident of Rio Township, passed away Sunday, November 20th at Memorial Medical Center in Springfield, Illinois after a short illness. Iva was born Iva Louise Palmer February 25, 1924 in Hamilton, Alabama to Clover McKinley and Cora Lee Palmer. She graduated from Hamilton High School in 1943. She worked at several banks in Alabama, Oklahoma, and Illinois in her younger years. She was married to Gerald W. "Jerry" Gamel on July 26, 1944 in Oklahoma City. He preceded her in death on November 29, 2001.
After raising her family, Iva entered the work force again starting as a receptionist in the Dixon, Illinois studios of WSDR radio AM-1240 in the 1970's and later as company bookkeeper and Corporate Secretary of WFXW-AM 1480 in Geneva, Illinois from 1983 to 1988. Iva moved to the 190 year old Gamel family farm in Rio township, Illinois in 1988 where she lived until her recent illness.
Iva Gamel was active in the Presbyterian Churches of the communities she lived including Sterling, Dixon, and Rio Illinois. She was President of the United Presbyterian Women's association in Dixon, the Dixon Women's club, the Phidian Art Club of Dixon and the Lee County Historical society. In Dixon, she was a volunteer guide in the Ronald Reagan Boyhood Home when it was first opened in 1981. Iva and her husband attended the first inaugural ball of Ronald Reagan in Washington DC in 1981.
She was a 44 year member of the PEO sisterhood in which she held most major offices. She was also a Deacon of the Rio Presbyterian Church, past President of the Rio Women's club, member of the Roundtable clubs in Galesburg, Illinois and the Galesburg Civic Art Center. She taught Sunday School at the Dixon Presbyterian Church for 20 years and was a girl scout leader for five years and a 4-H leader for seven years.
Iva is survived by two children, Trudy Lee (Roy) Ballinger of Rochester, Illinois and Bennett Palmer (Paula) Gamel of Monroe, Louisiana, four grandchildren including Andra Dianne (David) Grable, 34, of Springfield, Illinois; Jennifer Lynn (Brian) Switzer, 30, of Henderson, Nevada; Kelli Renee Gamel, 21, of Monroe, Louisiana; and Emily Victoria Gamel, 19, of Monroe, Louisiana. Iva Gamel is also survived by four great grandchildren, Montgomery Davis Grable, 6, and Evelynn Ripley Grable, 3, of Springfield Illinois, and Ethan William Switzer, 3 , and Madilynn Elizabeth Switzer, 2 weeks old, of Henderson, Nevada. Iva is also survived by a beloved brother Herbert Hoover Palmer, 83, of Birmingham, Alabama , also stepson Mark Allen (Stephanie) Ballinger of Springfield, Illinois and many nieces and nephews.
Besides the "love of her life," Jerry Gamel, she was also preceded in death by beloved parents Clover and Cora Lee Palmer, sister Elizabeth (James) Brown, brothers Harrison (Margaret) Palmer, Arthur (Kathy) Palmer, and Horrice (Billie Jean) Palmer, and grandmother Mary Dizenia "Mammy" Palmer, and a special nephew James Roger Brown.
A memorial has been established to the Rio Presbyterian Church, the KM chapter of the PEO sisterhood, and the Roger Brown Study Collection Museum of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Services are 10 a.m., Saturday, November 26, 2011 at Peterson-Wallin-Knox Funeral Home in Woodhull. Burial is in the Woodhull Cemetery. Visitation is from 4-7 p.m., Friday, November 25, 2011 at Peterson-Wallin-Knox Funeral Home in Woodhull. Online condolences can be made at www.petersonwallinknox.com.