Maureen Gabriel, an Elk Grove centenarian and World War II Navy veteran, peacefully passed away in her home on Nov. 28, 2021 at the age of 102. Her niece and nephew (Bruce and Mary Thorpe) cared for her and were at side when she passed. Maureen was an amazing woman who lived an amazing life. She was born on July 29, 1919 to Gertrude Iva Kinney and Walter Henry Gabriel. This was right after a woman’s right to vote passed Congress.
She had three sisters and two brothers: Dolores Downs (Bernie), Betty Fox (John), Theresa Smith (John), George and Walter (Eleanor Bird).
Maureen lived through the Spanish flu, the Great Depression, the attack on Pearl Harbor and the COVID-19 pandemic. She saw the Hindenburg hours before it crashed. She joined the Navy in 1944. She marched in the Macy’s Day Parade fresh out of boot camp.
On July 24, 2019, she was featured in the Elk Grove Citizen as the city’s newest centenarian. Maureen was very active in the community and was a devote Catholic. She cared for her mother for 40 years. She served at Loaves & Fishes, St. Vincent de Paul’s, the Discovery Shop, the Sacramento WAVES, and St. Joseph Catholic Church. She was a proud member of the American Legion Post 233. In 2019, she served as grand marshal in Elk Grove’s Veteran’s Day Parade. In addition, the mayor presented her with a “Key to the City.”
Maureen always loved playing cards with her niece (Dolores Downs) on Sundays. She enjoyed her time with the “Tuesday Lunch Bunch.” Every year on her birthday, they went to Leatherby’s for a banana split. Maureen was never married and did not have any children. Being the last member of her generation in her family, she is survived by many nieces and nephews (including great and great-great). She will be remembered as a wonderful, devoted and inspiring daughter, sister, aunt and friend.
A celebration of Maureen’s life was scheduled for Dec. 7, 2021 at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Elk Grove, with her interment later that day at St. Mary’s Cemetery.