The Curry Coastal Pilot

Nell Fehmel, of Brookings, joined her Lord Jesus Christ in the early morning hours of Dec. 17, 2011, in Gold Beach with her daughter and son-in-law by her side. She was 87.

Nell was born on Jan. 12, 1924, in Port Arthur, Texas, to Fred and Carol (Stanton) Summy and was a Texas girl at heart. She grew up in Dallas, the youngest of five children, and lived there until moving to Brookings.

After graduating from Adamson High School, Nell began her career as a bookkeeper. An early marriage and baby daughter to raise necessitated she work during World War II. Nell was employed by Austin Bridge Company for many years and later retired from Gifford-Hill Pipe Company. She stayed in touch with several lifelong friends as well as new ones made along life's way.

Nell married Richard Fehmel on July 1, 1949. Coming from large families, they stayed involved with family (near and far), and enjoyed friends, their Sunday school group, and traveling. She really liked having fun with family and friends. They adored their two grandchildren, Rodney and Mindy. In later years Nell loved being with her two great-granddaughters whenever possible. Her husband, Richard, died in 1993.

In addition to playing the organ, Nell was an avid reader, worked crossword puzzles daily and played solitaire. Even more than those hobbies, her "southern hospitality" was evident. She always made room for one more person around the table.

Nell relocated to Brookings in 1995 to be near her daughter. She joined the Brookings Church of the Nazarene and also attended Stonecroft's monthly Christian Women's Club luncheons. She participated in Stonecroft Ministries' weekly Bible studies, hosting them in her home for several years. Nell cherished the new friendships she made as a result and deeper insights she gleaned from God's Word. She'll be remembered by many for her positive attitude, kindness and perseverance combined with her good sense of humor.

Survivors include her daughter and son-in-law, Gale and David Lakey of Brookings; grandson Rodney VanWinckel, wife Kathleen, great-granddaughters Keri and Jamie of Walnut Creek, Calif., and granddaughter Mindy Hamilton and her husband, Douglas Gustafson of Brookings. Nieces in Texas include Carol McClelland (Wayne) of Houston; Mary Lou Kennedy, Houston; Nell Sparks (David) of Orange; and Fredna Long (Jerry) of Duncanville.

In addition to her husband, Nell was preceded in death by three sisters and one brother.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Brookings Church of the Nazarene, 1600 Chetco Ave., Brookings, OR 97415 or to the Curry Health Foundation, PO Box 1274, Gold Beach, OR 97444.

A graveside service will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 29, 2011, at Laurel Land Cemetery in Dallas. Interment will follow.

A memorial service will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 3, 2012, at Redwood Memorial Chapel in Brookings.

Condolences may be expressed online at

Submitted by Redwood Memorial Chapel.