Elizabeth N. Gabel, 95, of Morris, passed away peacefully Thursday, April 18, 2019 at Park Pointe Healthcare & Rehabilitation of Morris. Theodosia Louise Elizabeth was born on August 18, 1923, in Davenport, Iowa to the late Leona (Jack) and Louis Nichlos.
They moved to Morris in 1925 where her father owned and operated the Andan Cafe on Liberty Street. Sis was raised and educated in Morris until her senior year when she moved to Chicago to live with her mother. She graduated from Harper High School with the class of 1940. She attended Harper College before moving back to Morris. Sis always remained close with her school friends in Morris and enjoyed planning and attending class reunions throughout the years. When Sis returned to Morris she married Fred Gabel, Jr., at Immaculate Conception Church on May 3, 1941.
Sis was a successful business woman actively involved in restaurant, retail, and real estate businesses in Morris until her retirement. Sis began her restaurant career as a young girl working for her father. When she was in her twenties she partnered with her father in Sis’ Drive Inn at the corner of Route 47 and Southmor Road from 1952 to 1964. In 1966, seeing there was no store in Morris that sold uniforms for waitresses and nurses, Sis opened The Uniform Shop on the retail floor of the Gabel Apartment Building. She grew the business to include the shop and mobile saleswomen who called on banks, hotels and hospitals. The restaurant business called to her again and she seized the opportunity to purchase The Colonial House restaurant on the 100 block of Liberty Street which she operated from 1969 to 1973. Sis sold the business with the intention of retiring which lasted until 1976 when she was asked to manage the Morris Country Club. The following year she opened Sis’ Downtown at 312 Liberty Street on February 14, 1977, where she enjoyed success into the mid-1980s. After a few years, Sis obtained her Real Estate Sales License and worked for realty companies in Morris and Coal City. She ended her real estate career at age 90 when her health began to fail.
She is survived by her daughter Barbara Gabel, sons Timothy and Robert Gabel; grandchildren and great-grandchildren Katherine Bonomo (Geoffrey) and children Nicholas and Grace Bonomo; Laura (Bradley) Gonnam-Chagdes and daughter Olivia Bivens; Jacob (Maria) Gabel and children Michelle and Jacob, Jr.; J.C. Gabel and wife Sybil Perez and children Xander and Leo; Allison Gabel; Amelia Anne Gabel and husband Stephen Bajkiewicz and her children Karis and Seiya Emerling; Ralena Dobbins; Jessica (Robert) Gonnam-Jacobus and children Austin Shade, Blaine Larsen and Cash Jacobus; sisters Joan Erickson and Helen Russ. She is also survived by the family of Martha and Enrique Gonzalez; Ana, David, Raphael, Enrique, Sara and Jacobo who took such wonderful a care of their grandmother-in-law as if she were their own.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her ex-husband Fred Gabel; son Thomas Gabel and grandson Nathan Gabel; brother George Nichlos and step-sister Betty Carr; and son-in-law William Gonnam.
Visitation will be held 4 p.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday, April 24, 2019 at the U.C. Davis-Callahan Funeral Home. A Celebration of Sis’ Life will follow at 7 p.m. Aqua Cremation rites have been accorded. Inurnment will be in Mt. Carmel Cemetery at a later date.
Memorial contributions may be made in Elizabeth’s name to the Joliet Area Community Hospice or The Tom Gabel Goodwill Fund at Immaculate Conception School in Morris.
Arrangements have been entrusted with U.C. Davis-Callahan Funeral Home, 301 W. Washington Street, Morris, IL. For further information visit the website at www.ucdaviscallahan.com or contact the funeral home at 815-942-0084. Online condolences may be directed to the family by visiting the website.