At the family's request memorial contributions are to be made to those listed below. Please forward payment directly to the memorial of your choice.
In Memory of Greg Gebben
Chippewa Athletic Fund
203 Indoor Athletic Complex, Central Michigan Unv.
Mt. Pleasant, MI 48859
Please indicate Greg Gebben on the memo line.
Below is the contact information for a florist recommended by the funeral home.
Life Story / Obituary
Greg Gebben was a hard-working provider for the family he loved. He had a sincere passion for giving his personal best to whatever he set his mind on doing, and lived each and every day to the fullest. With so many wonderful memories over the years, Greg felt blessed as a husband, father, grandfather, and friend to many. Gone too soon, there is no doubt that he will be greatly missed by his loving family and many special friends.
The year 1957 was where Greg’s story began. It was a period of time marked by the many talents of professional sports figures, musicians, and movie stars such as Mickey Mantle, Elvis Presley, and James Dean. Families still huddled around television sets to catch the latest westerns such as Gunsmoke or anything featuring Lucille Ball. On October 24th in Portage, Michigan proud parents, Duane and Ellie Gebben welcomed home their baby boy, Gregory. Born among four boys, he brought much joy and happiness to the family home.
Growing up on Cora Drive near Gourdneck Lake, he lived a typical childhood of the times. He and his three brothers had their fair share of mischief and sibling rivalry. Greg enjoyed playing sports and thrived on the football field, the hockey rink, and baseball diamonds in high school. Graduating with the Class of 1976 from Portage Central High school, he wanted to continue his football career and he walked onto the football team at Central Michigan University. He later earned a full ride scholarship where he was a linebacker and long snapper. He was very proud of his years as a Chippewa.
Greg had a wide variety of special interests. He loved sports and working with his hands and pursued a degree in education. Surprisingly, Greg’s early career was building custom homes in Central Florida. He worked on creating some of the most impressive multi-million dollar custom built homes, including Tiger Woods home. Many of his custom homes made it into the Parade of homes. During the recession in 2009, however, Greg switched careers and went back to teaching. He started at Deland High school where he developed vocational teaching. Always one to push his students beyond their expectations, Greg went beyond assignments requesting classic birdhouses and had his students design mini houses inside the workshop including spiral staircases. He loved to make close connections with his students and was well liked by his students and staff alike.
Never one to remain idle, after a few years at the high school level he started teaching at the college level at Seminole State College of Florida. His knowledge, skill, passion, and love for creating, designing, and building anything with wood took him to a whole new level. Talented, he was featured in the newspaper showcasing his incredible work. Hard working and passionate about his projects, Greg was often his toughest critic. Each and every project was looked over with a fine tooth comb before he could put his stamp of approval on it!
Although he cherished his career in woodworking, there was no doubt that his three daughters, Lacey, Brooke, and Alexis were the apples of his eye! He enjoyed being a dad and never missed an opportunity to take them putt putt golfing, tossing them over his into the swimming pool, or surprising them with gifts such as a go-kart that they enjoyed riding all day! Greg coached Brooke’s softball team and loved going to the batting cages for practice. Despite his busy schedule he always made time for Alexis’s competitive cheerleading competitions. Halloween was a favorite holiday with his girls. Born with a natural sweet tooth, Greg always made his girls pay “toll to the troll” meaning giving him three pieces of candy to their one! In their adult lives, nurturing and loving, Greg always called and left his girls voice messages to start their day. Even though he knew they may not return the message back, he never missed an opportunity to let them know he was thinking of them. Greg instilled in his children with tough love and hard work, they could achieve anything they wanted in life.
Greg was a man who enjoyed many pleasures in life. His heart was delighted when he was blessed with his special granddaughter, Eleanor. He loved spending time with her and sharing so much of his favorite traditions with her. He enjoyed traveling back to Michigan each fall for the Central Michigan Games and reunions. He loved the thrill of walking out on the field during the announcements reminiscing about his college days. Greg was an avid bowhunter and enjoyed hunting wild boar in the Orlando Florida area. Often seen as tough on the outside, he definitely had a gentle heart on the inside. As a father, coach, and teacher, he strived to make lasting connections with everyone. He was successful in many aspects of his life from his construction talents, coaching tips, as well as his teaching skills, yet above all else his family meant the world to him. There simply was nothing he wouldn’t do for each and every one of them. May his loved ones always look back fondly on the rich collection of memories he leaves behind and may his memories be eternal.
Greg Gebben, of Lake Mary, Florida, formerly of Portage, MI died on Wednesday, November 18, 2020 after suffering from diabetes and multiple strokes. Cremation has taken place and the family will receive friends from 2-5 pm on Friday, December 4th at the Betzler Life Story Funeral, 6080 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo ( 375-2900). Please visit Greg’s personal memory page at www.betzlerlifestory.com where you can share a memory or photo and sign his guestbook before coming to the funeral home. Memorial Donations may be directed to the Chippewa Athletic Fund or directly to the family.