June Ernestine Corbell Gabriel passed away on Feb. 17, 2011, due to complications of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease. Ernestine was born on June 20, 1931, in Bastrop, Texas. She was the only child of Ernest “Cap” and Stella Watterson Corbell.
She was raised in the Watterson Community, where Cap farmed and ranched and Stella taught school in Bastrop. Ernestine grad
uated from Bastrop High School in 1948. She received a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Southwest Texas State Teachers College (Texas State) in 1951.
On May 12, 1951, Ernestine married Jack Gabriel and began her adventure as a cattle trader’s wife – not knowing of the thousands of miles she would drive, countless steaks she would fry, drinks she would mix, gates she would open and the great friendships she would make along the way. Ernestine was known as “Red” – that was the name Jack gave her after her beautiful auburn hair.
During their first year of marriage, Jack served in Korea and Ernestine taught chemistry in East Bernard. On Jack’s return, they settled in Lockhart and started Jack Gabriel Cattle Company. Ernestine handled many of the bookkeeping details as well as what ever was needed to keep an order buying outfit running smoothly. Jack passed away in 1993. Ernestine’s happiest times were traveling with Jack across the country buying and selling cattle.
Ernestine also worked as a lab technician at the Lockhart Medical Center until her only child, Joni, was born in 1958. She was a stay at home Mom until Joni started school and then she went back to teaching in Lockhart. She was a licensed real estate broker. Ernestine had a strong work ethic and always kept busy. She was also known as a tough negotiator.
Ernestine’s kitchen was always open and her house was the favorite gathering spot for cattle buyers, ranchers, rodeo cowboys and cowgirls and the many stray animals that Joni was always bringing home. She never knew if she would find a millionaire or an outlaw in the bunkhouse but all were welcome.
Ernestine was a member of the First Lockhart United Methodist Church and the Caldwell County Retired Teachers.
Ernestine is survived by her daughter, Joan (Joni) Gabriel, of Lockhart, and boyfriend Stephen S. Perry, III, of Freeport. Also surviving are nephews Tally Gabriel, Ernie Gabriel, and Dr. J. D. Gabriel; several great- and great-great-nephews and nieces; and cousins Kay Jackson and Shelly Glasgow.
Joni would like to thank Marilyn Riddle and Sybil Kaigler for always being there for her and Ernestine. Also thanks go out to the staff of Horizon Bay Assisted Living in San Marcos and Lighthouse Hospice for their excellent care of Ernestine.
Visitation was held on Friday Feb. 18 from 5 – 8 p.m., and services were held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011, at McCurdy Funeral Home in Lockhart. Interment followed at the Watterson Cemetery. Pallbearers were Paul Wilke, Verlin Callahan, Tim Pennell, Jerry Hudson, Kent Riddle and Terry Jackson.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Watterson Cemetery, 625 Watterson Road, Bastrop, Texas, 78602 or to the charity of choice.
Arrangements under the care and guidance of McCurdy Funeral Home, 105 E. Pecan St., Lockhart, Texas 78644. Obituary and guest book online at www.mccurdyfuneralhome.com