top banner

Obituary Listings

A Family Tradition of Dignified Service

John Henry Goebel

February 21, 1930 August 20, 2012
John Henry Goebel
There are condolences waiting approval on John's Tribute wall
Obituary for John Henry Goebel

John H. Goebel, a resident of Ocala, Florida and a former resident of the Detroit area, died on August 20, 2012.

John Henry Goebel hit the ground running in this world on February 21, 1930. John was the only child of Henry John and Helene Goebel, immigrants from Germany and Holland who came to Detroit for the auto industry in 1928 to pursue a better life. When the depression hit, Henry and Helene and their young son John moved from house to house in Detroit, seeking out the cheapest rent just to get by. John became a paper-boy, as he grew older, delivering the Detroit News in their east side neighborhood on Kenmoor Avenue near city airport.

Most of his earnings (like most kids back then) went to his parents, and were used to send care packages to European relatives suffering the ravages of WWII.

He met the love of his life, Eleanor ("Ellie") Rejc at the dime store "soda fountain" where they both worked in 1947. He chased her until she caught him, and they've been sweethearts ever since. John and Eleanor married in July 1950 and had four children, Hank, Karl, Mary, and Lisa.

John graduated from De La Salle High School in 1948 and went on to college at U of D, and ultimately law school at Detroit College of Law. He began his professional career with Chrysler, in Government and Industrial Relations, and joined American Motors (AMC) in 1963, where he moved up the ranks and eventually became the Corporate Director of Labor Relations. Throughout his career, he negotiated many union contracts, helping AMC stay afloat during the lean years. He headed scores of grueling, all-night bargaining sessions; the deep and enduring friendships he developed on both sides of the table are a true testament to his character and how highly respected he was by his colleagues from all walks of life.

A giant of a man, not in size, but personality, he filled a room with his presence. Always the storyteller, he was a great influence on everyone who knew him and lived his own life by the strong convictions of his character.

John's never-wavering faith was the foundation of his value system. Throughout each day of his life since childhood, he set time aside for conversations with his Lord and Savior. His relationship with God was in line with Eleanor's, and they prayed together and trusted in His love and guidance. No matter where, at family gatherings, or in public restaurants, John took the time to be thankful. Together they worshiped God at least once per week through church attendance.

Throughout his life, John's family was his number one priority. He assumed complete responsibility of not only his widowed mother, but his aunt for whom his deceased father was providing before his sudden passing in 1967. For over 25 years, he furnished a safe and separate home for them, and took care of most of their expenses. He always professed his bride Eleanor to be the greatest blessing of his life, and loved her more than anything in the world. His children (Hank, Karl, Mary and Lisa) were his greatest source of pride in his life. He was always there to be what a father should be: a role model, a teacher, a provider, an advisor - and lent more than a helping hand with Karl's and Mary's home remodeling projects.

In a reflective moment, John wrote in a letter to his children, "When I was 20, I felt great, and knew I could conquer the world (but they said I was too young). At 30, I was busy conquering the world, but with some restrictions. At 40, the world was mine, except I had a lot of work and heavy, heavy responsibilities." Stress took its toll on John, yet he continued on with the work he loved. At the age of 57, after finishing the biggest negotiations of his career, he had a massive heart attack that nearly took his life. At that point, in 1987, John chose to retire, and spend the rest of what he thought was his little time left, with Ellie.

John and Eleanor moved to Florida, where amazingly they wrote a second wonderful chapter together for 25 years. Life had its challenges there as well, but with faith as their cornerstone, they made every day count -- were intentional on making every day count -- and appreciated every day they had together. They were, and are, a shining example of gratitude for life and gracefulness through difficulty to which we can all aspire.

John passed away in the loving care of his sweetheart, Ellie, after 62 years of marriage. An influence and inspiration to all who knew him, he lives on through the many, many lives he has touched.

He leaves his beloved wife, Eleanor (Rejc) Goebel; sons, Hank (Doreen) Goebel, Karl (Kristin) Goebel; daughters, Mary (Laurence) Ocwieja, Lisa (John) Morgan; grandchildren, Jody and Scott Ternus, Mark Goebel, Amanda (Jonathan) Hemingway, John (Meka) Goebel, Montgomery Ocwieja, Eric (Lindsey) Ocwieja, Ryan (Kristin), Theo and Annabel Morgan; 4 great-grandchildren and many extended family and friends.

A Funeral Service will be held at Lynch & Sons Funeral Home, 404 E. Liberty, Milford on Friday, August 24 at 11 AM. Friends may visit Thursday, August 23 from 3-9 PM.

For further information please phone 248.684.6645.


Create new album
Subscribe To Obituaries


We appreciate your support
In accordance with the wishes of the family, this
message has been declined.