11/02/2017 - Ana (Mitchell) Gimpel Brooks
Memorial services for Ana Mae (Mitchell) Gimpel Brooks, age 84, will be at 10:00 AM on Thursday, November 2, 2017 at Our Savior’s Lutheran Church in Chadron, Nebraska, with Ana’s grandson, Reverend Chet Scherbarth, a Lutheran Church Missouri Synod pastor in San Diego, CA, officiating.
Inurnment will be in the Greenwood Cemetery.
Memorials may be given to the Chadron Senior Center.
Ana passed away at Chadron Community Hospital on October 24, 2017.
She lived a storied and eventful life. She was born on February 25, 1933 in Hurley, MO. As a child, her family relocated from Missouri to Central California during the Dust Bowl years of the Great Depression, then on to Oregon by the late 1940s. Ana attended middle school and high school in Modesto, CA and graduated from Stayton Union High School in Stayton, OR in 1950.
In 1953, she met and married Graydon Gimpel, a depot agent on the Southern Pacific Railroad in Los Banos, CA. They moved back to his home state of South Dakota in 1955, where he found employment on the Chicago & Northwestern Railroad, working frequently between Wall and Pierre, SD. By the early 1960s, they were looking to settle down permanently and decided on Chadron as a central location and suitably-sized town for their family of four children: Pamela, Marcia, Douglas and James.
In 1967, once her youngest had started school and at a time when women rarely started their own businesses, Ana opened a business repairing shoes, leather products, canvas and other heavy fabric goods.
Initially located in a garage at 4th and Maple Streets, where they resided at the time, the business expanded at a location on West Second Street, to include retail western wear. About 1970, the business moved to the 200 block of Main Street.
Graydon left the employment of the C&NW Railroad at that time and joined Ana in the business where they worked side-by-side for 20 years until his death in 1990. She remained the public face of the business from the beginning.
In 1991, she was remarried to Francis Brooks, a long-time Chadron resident. Francis died in 2007.
In 1992, she sold the business to an outside interest and retired from full-time employment, though she earned a modest income quilting and sewing and was actively involved in raising her grandchildren.
During these later years, operating from home, she repaired and replaced literally hundreds of zippers, hemmed and altered thousands of garments and continued serving many of the same customers she had met in the store.
She could operate industrial grade sewing machines with skill and finesse and could sew complicated quilts and other projects without a pattern. An elaborate network of loyal customers was built entirely through word-of-mouth.
During her years in business and as a spouse and mother, she taught her children and grandchildren many great virtues. Chiefly among them was perseverance, or what she liked to call ‘stick-to-it-iveness’.
Just by watching her, one learned the value of hard work; self-discipline; how to finish what you start; how to live down your mistakes and keep trying; the virtue of generosity; how to serve others cheerfully; not to overcharge for your services; how to repay justly incurred debts promptly; how to put away pride and status-seeking; how to treat everyone fairly and equally; and how to give people a break and a hand-up when they needed it.
These lessons are a priceless inheritance she left for her children and grandchildren.
She loved her customers and the townspeople of Chadron. She was always enthusiastic about getting to work in the morning and was remarkably upbeat even when the cash register went quiet in the slow winter months. She was not inclined to take slights personally, forgave readily, and offered prayers and encouragement always.
She was active as a congregant in several church congregations throughout her life. She occasionally attended Mass with her late husband, Francis, at St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. She was a confessing Christian since childhood.
She is survived by daughter Marcia Scherbarth (Wayne) of Hay Springs, NE; sons Douglas Gimpel (Tina) of Rapid City, SD and James Gimpel (Veronica) of Columbia, MD; 16 grandchildren and 23 great-grandchildren; sisters Mary of Loveland, CO, Shirley Dodson of DeKalb, TX, and Darlene Buell of Hephizabah, GA; brothers George Mitchell of Los Banos, CA and David Mitchell of Stayton, OR.
She is predeceased by husband Graydon Gimpel; second husband Francis Brooks; and daughter Pamela Hubbard.
Bates Gould Funeral Home in Alliance is in charge of arrangements for Ana Mae (Mitchell) Gimpel Brooks.
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