Whimsical 13

Gabriele I. (Franck) Darnell

February 7, 1943 ~ August 29, 2021 (age 78)


We lost our dear Gabriele “Gabby” Darnell, 78, of Great Falls, MT on August 29th, 2021 due to natural causes. A private Memorial Service has been planned through her church and close friends.

Gabriele was born on February 7th, 1943 in Zweibruecken, Germany to Dr. Werner and Waltraud Franck. Born into hard circumstances during World War 2, her family had to move into an old bomb shelter when she was 3 years old. It was here they managed to survive, and she had her first encounter with German soldiers. After the war, they lived in a small room above a butcher shop, where she well remembered the “Wurst Zipfel” that the owner gave her as a treat when she was visiting. Gabby went on to attend the “Lyzeum” (now Gymnasium Hohenfels), a school for higher education in Zweibruecken.

In 1961 at 18 years old, Gabby, her mother and stepdad Jack immigrated to Montgomery, Alabama. Entering her new life, the first day she stepped out of the airplane, she bought her first car; a two tone 1955 Ford Fairlane.  In 1964, she became a proud United States citizen and soon after she met the love of her life, Robert “Bob” Darnell; The couple were married in 1965.

Since she was passionate about books and literature, she worked for at “Capital Book and News Company” for $0.50/hr. One of her highlights was witnessing the March of Selma, led by Dr. Martin Luther King, met Whoopy Goldberg and Harper Lee.

Being a housewife with typical chores such as cooking, were not her first priorities, she enjoyed going out for dinners, especially with her husband Bob.

In the 1990s, Gabby moved with her longtime friend Christine Foitzik to Great Falls, MT, where they fell in love with the beautiful Paris Gibson Park. They had been best friends for 35 years prior to Chrissy’s passing 3 years ago.

Among many interests, Gabby enjoyed traveling, weekend trips in and around Montana, books, art, cars, gardening and bringing people together. She was active in church activities, loved shopping trips to St. Vincent de Paul, as well as Barnes and Nobles.

Gabby was preceded in death by her husband Robert “Bob” Darnell, her parents Dr. Werner and Waltraud Franck and her stepdad Jack.

Gabby was the last of the Franck family lineage, she will be missed dearly by her friends and her three furry children Saschi, Sami and Ricki.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Gabriele I. (Franck) Darnell, please visit our floral store.


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