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Phil Gabler '64

Philip L. Gabler TSGT, 74, Oklahoma City, OK, passed away April 29, 2021, of congestive heart failure after 6 days in ICU.

Phil was born August 3, 1946 in Royal Oak, MI. He is preceded in death by his parents Lt. Col. Clyde W. Gabler, USAF and Kathleen Campbell MacDonald Gabler.  He is survived by, in addition to wife Terry, daughter Lisa Michele Gabler-Fisher of Harrison Township, MI, her children Brady, Chanse and Piper, son Brian Michael Gabler of Macomb Township, MI, and stepdaughter Emily Cheng of Oklahoma City, OK. He is also survived by his brothers Gary Gabler of Marine City, MI, Brad Gabler of Warren, MI and Rick Gabler of Leesburg, FL.

Phil grew up as a military dependent “brat”, and as such lived in Michigan, Virginia, Florida, Island of Crete in Greece, France, and Germany.  He graduated from Dreux American High School in 1964. In 1965, he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force at the height of the Vietnam War.  He served in Vietnam at Cam Ranh Bay Air Base as a fuel systems specialist on F-4 Phantom.  He served in Vietnam for 13 months during which he was awarded the Air Force Commendation medal among other decorations.  He returned to the states to serve at MacDill and Homestead Air Force bases in Florida.  Then, in 1968, after North Korea captured the U.S.S. Pueblo, Phil was sent during that crisis for a six-month TDY during the bitter Korean winter.

In December of 1968, he was involved in a life-threatening car accident.  After his recovery he received a medical discharge from the Air Force.  Phil returned home to attend college, where he met his first wife Jane-the mother of their children, Lisa and Brian.  Shortly thereafter, he began working an Air Force Reserve and civilian Technician for the Dept. of Defense at Selfridge Air National Guard base in Mt. Clemens, MI. Subsequently, in November of 1982, Phil was hired in at the US Army Tank-Automotive Command (TACOM) in Warren, MI as an Equipment Specialist.  In March of 1996, he retired from TACOM.

In 1997, Phil moved to Orlando, Florida, where he met Terry and her daughter Emily. Phil and Terry moved to The Villages retirement community north of Orlando and spent many years there before moving on to Oklahoma City where they adopted two rescue dogs Oscar and Ralph.

Phil Gabler served his country proudly in uniform, cared for his family, his community, and his friends.  He left a great legacy, which we can all attest to and will forever remember. 

A memorial will be held on July 15, 2021, at the VFW Bruce Post 1146, 28404 Jefferson, St. Clair Shores, MI 48081 at 11:00am with full Military Honors.  Donations can be made in honor of Phil to the American Heart Association or Disabled American Veterans.