Karl Christian Gaber passed away on May 3, 2018 at the age of 93 at the Erie VAMC due to inoperative cancer. His parents George and Sara immigrated to the U.S. from Gross Kopisch, Transylvania. Karl was born at the family’s farmhouse in Summit Township on August 18, 1924. He attended the Oak Hill one room schoolhouse, graduated from Erie Technical High School with certificates in Machine Shop and Mechanical Drawing and then completed his training in Tool Design at the Pitt University Extension.
He started working at the Louis Marx Toy Company in 1942.
In 1943, Karl enlisted into the United States Navy and was sent to the Sampson Boot camp in Geneva, NY. He then attended Aviation Machinist Training at the Navy Pier in Chicago, Radar Operator Training at the Memphis Air Training Center in Memphis, and Gunnery training in Jacksonville. Karl’s years of service included Hedron 14-2 FAW 14 vp-121 at Camp Kearny in San Diego, and World War II / Pacific Theater as a top turret gunner on a Privateer PB4Y-2 in the 121st Squadron, based at Iwo Jima. He was shot down in the Tokyo Bay, captured and taken to the Ofuna Prisoner of War Camp. Karl earned and was awarded the
Distinguisher Flying Cross w/2 Gold Stars, Purple Heart Medal, Air Medal w/2 Gold Stars,
POW Medal, American Area Campaign Medal, the Asiatic Pacific Area Campaign Medal,
and the WWII Medal. After deployment to the Naval Air Station in Columbus, Ohio he was discharged in Great Lakes, Illinois. He returned to the Louis Marx Co, completed his tool and die maker apprenticeship, worked his way up to being the foreman of the tool room and was employed until it closed in 1980.
Karl continued working his trade and retired in 1987 from Peres Pattern Company.
His military experience has been featured in local papers on various occasions. Karl donated his Japanese issued release uniform in 2003 to the National Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, FL where it was on display for many years. Karl enjoyed hunting, ice fishing, snowmobiling, attending antique tractor shows, and was active in community organizations including 50+ years in the American Legion Post 285- Waterford, VFW Post 169-Venango, Barbed Wire Association of NWPA, and the Waterford Municipal Authority. He also served 50+ years with the Waterford Lions Club, PA Lions Laser Center, and was a regular volunteer with the Blind Bowlers Tournament held in Erie. He was a lifetime member of the NRA, lifetime member of the Siebenbuerger Club, and active in the A.T.S.
Survivors include daughters, Debbie Woods and her husband Mark of Erie, Susan Hain of NC, and one daughter through the Youth of Understanding Exchange Program - Anette Storgaard of Denmark; three grandchildren, Dr. Chris Hain of Al, Kelly Woods of Fl and Lisa Hain of NC; a great-grandson Thomas Karl Hain and a great-granddaughter Olivia Hain; one sister-in-law Betty (Dick) Gaber of Waterford along with several nieces, nephews and cousins. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife of 56 years, Marjorie L. (Mortenson) Gaber, brothers George, Gustave, Herman, Rudolph, Albert, Walter, Richard also William and Henry who both died in their infancy, and his only sister Sarah.
Friends may call at the Russell C. Schmidt & Son Funeral Home Inc., 5000 Wattsburg Road on Tuesday from 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. and are invited to services there on Wednesday morning at 10:00 a.m. followed by a full military burial held at the Wintergreen Gorge Cemetery.
Military Honors will be rendered by the Erie/Crawford Honor Guard and Burial Detail.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Mark Lutheran Church, P.O. Box 363 Waterford, PA, 16441, the Waterford Stancliff Hose Company, P.O. Box 275, Waterford, PA 16441 or
The Erie VA Medical Center, ATTN: Voluntary Office (for the Recreation Therapy Program) 135 East 38th Street, Erie, PA 16504.
Karl and his family would like to send a special THANK YOU to the ERIE VAMC.