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Dr Louis B Gimelli, professor emeritus of history at Eastern Michigan University and devoted family man passed peacefully after a valiant battle with prostate cancer. He was 92.
He grew up in the 1920s and 30s in a poor Italian American family in Oswego, NY. His family’s challenges as immigrants and life of manual labor provided a foundation for good citizenship and a desire for a better life for his own family.
At age 20 he was drafted into the US Army serving in Germany during WWll. When he returned to the US as a young vet he attended the teaching college at SUNY Oswego and went on to earn a Masters Degree and a PHD from New York University while teaching at New Rochelle High School.
He attributed his successes to the access to education afforded by the GI bill but especially to a cute actress from Brooklyn, Rosemary Thomas who was also training to be a teacher at Oswego State. She became his loving wife and driving force for nearly 70 years and eventually his devoted caregiver.
Dr. Gimelli’s life mission was to educate others on factual events in American and World History and the effects of those events. He was an advocate of the working class, active in the women’s movement and minority causes. He taught classes in a myriad of subjects. His favorites were Native American history, the Salem witch trials, Cowboys in the American West, American missionaries and the Italian Renaissance. He was an expert on Andrew Jackson, Thomas Jefferson, the Founding Fathers and Niccolo Machiavelli. He fiercely believed in religious freedom and the separation of church and state. He would shake his head at the misinterpretation of the US Constitution and man’s inhumanity to man.
Dr. Gimelli preferred to teach rather than publish and spent a lifetime in a classroom setting until he was 91. He had an infectious smile and a wicked intellect and played tennis until he was 89.
Louis and Rosemary lived in Westchester County, New York, Ann Arbor, Michigan, Woodstock, MD and Middlesex County, VA. They raised two strong and independent daughters Lisa and Lauren, and were extremely active in helping raise 5 grandchildren; JohnTaylor, Alexander, Juliana, Steven and Scott who survive him along with his wife Rosemary and sons-in-law John and David.
There will be a private family celebration of his life at a later date. Arrangements are being served by Harry H. Witzke’s Family Funeral Home in Ellicott City, MD and donations may be directed to Gilchrist Hospice in Columbia Md.
Gilchrist Center of Howard County
5537 Twin Knolls Rd. #433, Columbia MD 21045