Gabriele Heale passed peacefully on April 17 after an unexpected illness. She is survived by her two daughters, Susan Heale Craig and spouse Clinton Craig of North Grafton, and Kristina Heale and fiancé John Perotti of Montgomery, Alabama; her siblings, Inge Toner and spouse Patrick of Toronto, and Peter Strauch and spouse Debbie of Prince Edward Island, Canada; five beautiful grandchildren, Thomas Heale of Loveland, Colorado, Brooke and Melanie Craig, and Seralyn and Jonathan (JT) Perotti; her nieces, Brigid Flook and Jennifer Heale, and nephews, Matthew Toner, Aric Strauch and Rob and Jeff Heale (all from Canada) as well as many other extended family members in Canada. She is predeceased by her parents, Edith and Frederick Strauch. She also is fondly remembered by her loving family still in Germany.
Gabriele was born Feb. 4, 1946, in Mühlhausen, East Germany. At the age of 4, she escaped East Germany with her favorite doll filled with the family’s savings. She then spent three years with her family in West Germany until they boarded a large ship (Titanic style) to start a new life in Ontario, Canada.
In 1964, at the age of 18, Gabriele married Richard Heale and they moved to the United States, where they welcomed two daughters: Susan and Kristina. In 1978, Gabriele proudly became a U.S. citizen. After 23 years of marriage, Gabriele and Richard parted ways. She later welcomed her ex’s new wife, Patti, to the extended family. Gabriele and Patti enjoyed sharing holidays, recipes and opportunities to tease Richard throughout their close relationship.
Gabriele eventually welcomed five beautiful grandchildren. As their “Oma,” she doted on them and talked about them with everyone she met. Prior to retirement, Gabriele also worked at EMC in Hopkinton, where she made many friends. She loved to decorate her office space for holidays and share delicious goodies with co-workers.
About five years ago, Gabriele was diagnosed with cancer. During her treatments she always made doctors and nurses smile with her quick wit and easy banter. Her treatment was harsh but effective, and she celebrated her remission with a visit to her extended family in Germany, the place of her birth that she had never been able to see since she left in 1952. While her health never fully recovered after her diagnosis, Gabriele lived a joyful life full of family, good food and celebrations. She was one of those rare, generous people who always made everyone around her smile and feel comfortable.
The loss of Gabriele is felt keenly by so many. She will be missed by her family and so many close friends and co-workers as well. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in her name to the Children’s Dyslexia Centers, 460 Newtonville Ave., Newtonville, MA 02046.