Klaus Tappe

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This will be a page in memory of Gene Strobel , a great German-American, the president and founder of GAHFI,
the German-American Heritage Foundation International.


The Foundation endeavors to contribute, in a unique way, to the
preservation and development of German American culture.

President: Eugene Carl Strobel, Ph.D

Sad news for the German-American community in Michigan:

STROBEL , EUGENE CARL PhD November 21st, 2001. Age 66. Beloved husband of Germaine. Dearest father of Laura McDonald (Brett), Karla and Eugene Jr. Loving grandfather of Mitchell and Leya. Dear brother of Hans and Margaret Strobel-Donofrio. 9 a.m. memorial gathering followed by 10 a.m. mass Tuesday at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 1800 Jay at Gratiot and I-75. Arrangements by A.H. Peters Funeral Home of Grosse Pte. Woods.

Gene Strobel passed away this past Wednesday, November 21, from an apparent heart attack. As you know, Gene - as president and founder of the German American Heritage Foundation International (GAHFI) - worked so hard to promote the study of German language and culture in southeastern Michigan. Today's mass celebrated his life as a 'great teacher' and a wonderful 'bridge builder' between the area's ethnic communities. Gene, the 'gentle giant' as he was called, worked tirelessly on many, many different projects. He and his wife Germaine could always be seen driving down one of Michigan's many highways. The people who attended mass and many who could not make it want to say: Thank you, Gene! Danke!!!

Article from the Nordamerikanische Wochen-Post

We have lost a wonderful, loyal friend in the passing of Dr. Eugene Carl Strobel who died suddenly on Wednesday, November 21. Dr. Strobel was a man of boundless energy and innovative ideas. A steadfast family man, university teacher and administrator, and an activist in humanitarian causes his entire life. He was a regular contributor to this newspaper, and was highly regarded and will be sorely missed.

Dr. Strobelís devotion to his German heritage was unparalleled. Born in Chicago of immigrant parents, his later years in Detroit found him concentrating on studies of History, Political Science and Higher Education Administration at Wayne State University and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor after a stint in the U.S. Army. He early participated in the peace movement, and the civil rights and farmworker struggles.

Because his hero was another German American, labor leader Walter Reuther, Dr. Strobel taught university level industrial relations classes early in his career.

As one of the founders of Detroitís Wayne County Community College before it opened its doors, Dr. Strobel wrote his doctoral dissertation on that momentous experience. An administrator in college-community relations, he worked closely with the late Mayor Jerome Cavanagh, Justice G. Mennen Williams, Senator Philip Hart, Senator Carl Levin, the Hertel brothers, and others. Detroit Mayor Dennis Archer had agreed to write a Foreward to his book, "The German Americans of Greater Detroit 1776-2000", a work in progress at the time of Dr. Strobelís death.

A most creative and versatile man, some activities which Dr. Strobel initiated included college courses for credit at WTVS Channel 56; his own radio and cable television programs; an annual Bookfair and Conference at which time he brought in such authors as astronaut Jerry Linenger and media personality Mort Crim; a yearly Oktoberfest Cruise on the Detroit River; a Cabaret evening of German songs; a filmfest involving derector Josef Vilsmaier; a calendar of German historical dates; a board game called TravelTalk which emphasized German vocabulary, history, and geography; bus tours of Germania in Detroit; and his popular slide presentations at universities, libraries, etc.

He was founding president of the German American Heritage Foundation, Intl. (GAHFI) around which most of his activities centered.

Dr. Strobel was instrumental in bringing together members of the German business community to cooperate on worthwhile projects. The German Consulate, and G.A. Chamber of Commerce, DaimlerChrysler, and countless other companies were involved in this bridge-building at which he was masterful.

Prior to his death he proposed a German American Cultural Museum and Hall of Fame for which a location was being sought. He was also investigating a sister-city project for Detroit with a German city. As a media speacialist, he inaugurated the videotaping of the Detroit Economic Club weekly luncheon talks while an administrator at Lawrence Technological Univ.

As an educator, Dr. Strobel worked tirelessly whith high school- and college-level German Language students and teachers involving them in GAHFI projects.

He was instrumental in reviving the teaching of German at Cass Technical High School, his alma mater, and other area schools. His weekly Historical Facts, in the German language paper Nordamerikanische Wochenpost, his articles and photographs were informative and eagerly awaited judging from readersí letters.

With all of this, Dr. Strobelís pride and joy was his loving family, wife Germaine, daughters, Laura McDonald (Brett) and Karla Strobel, son, Eugene, Jr., and grandchildren Mitchell and Leya.

His family asks that memorial contributions (tax deductable) be made to:

German American Heritage
Foundation, Intl., GAHFI,
20278 Old Homestead, Harper
Woods, 48225. ...to help carry on his lifeís work.

Dr.Strobel created a German Heritage Calendar showing many talented individuals both here and abroad who have made significant contributions to our civilization. He also invented a game called Travel Talk which encourages players to learn more about Germany while playing the game.

This year, in honor of the 300th anniversary of the beginning of Detroit, Dr. Strobel was going to author a book called "The Germans of Greater Detroit".

Many more events and activities were initiated and encouraged by Dr. Strobel and through him by the members of GAHFI, and all of them were undertaken in an effort to encourage a positive image of Germans and German Americans.

Detroit 300

Germania in DETROIT - e.g. St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church

A great event!

The interesting GAHFI-Tour of Detroit our wonderful Gene Strobel used to conduct: GAHFI-Tour of Detroit. Gene's last "Germania in Detroit" Bus Tour took place on May 19th, 2001. Starting near Eastern Market, this all day tour began at the parking lot across Gratiot Ave. at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church at the corner of Jay + Orleans at about 9 a.m. - stop for lunch took place at the Dakota Inn - etc.

Go to The GAHFI Page. -- German restaurants, shops+H.S. German teachers in Michigan -- German American Business/Companies -- Immigration/Emigration (Geschichte/Links)

Klaus Tappe
E-mail: frau829@aol.com: Contact Maria Schneider, E-mail: tappe02@hotmail.com