Barbara Jean Gagel

August 9, 1947 - February 8, 2020

Leave a message of condolence

Barbara Jean Gagel (nee Lehmenkuler), beloved wife, adoring mother and grandmother, selfless friend, passed away suddenly Feb. 8, 2020. She was 72.

Barb was born in Louisville, KY, the only child of Willis “Bugs” and Geri Lehmenkuler.

In a life story she wrote as a child, Barb shared a dream of becoming a structural engineer. Her journey took a different path while attending the University of Louisville. On a blind date, she met an engineering student named Chuck who would become the love of her life.

Barb and Chuck spent 49 years together, building a family that included their own children, grandchildren, and the hundreds of friends they made.

Barb never met a stranger, and lived her life making everyone she knew part of her family. Her Christmases were spent creating extravagant bows, dipping dozens of Oreo cookies in chocolate to give away as gifts, and preparing feasts for family and friends.

Barb’s free time was spent on the phone talking to her friends about their lives, and planning ways to make somebody’s special day more special. She was always the first person to arrive to help, and the last to leave to make sure everyone had the best time. No event was too small for Barb to transform into a wondrous occasion. When thanked for her efforts, she simply responded “Well you are family.”

An avid sports fan, Barb was a season ticket holder for the Louisville Cardinals, Cincinnati Reds, Cincinnati Bengals, and FC Cincinnati. But her favorite teams were the ones her children and grandchildren played for. “Grammy Barb” was a welcome cheerleader for four decades at area Catholic high schools, rooting not only for her kids and grandkids, but for their teammates. Barb passed away while cheering on her beloved Cardinals with Chuck.

Barb was a graduate of Assumption High School and the University of Louisville, a sister of Kappa Delta Sorority, a parishioner of Good Shepherd Catholic Church, and a patron of the Cincinnati Arts Association.

She was preceded in death by her parents, Willis Joseph and Geraldine Lehmenkuler; and granddaughter, Gabriella Hope Gofney.

Survivors include her beloved husband of 49 years, Charles Thomas Gagel; daughters, Gina Michelle Kurtz (Michael) and Brittany Lauren Gofney (Chris); son, Zachary David Gagel (Jenny); grandchildren, Morgan, Alex, Maggie, Matthew, Juliana, Logan, Thomas and Landon; sister-in-law, Marsha (Bob); nephews Scott (Erin), Patrick (Amanda), and Drew (Emilee); and many extended family members and dear friends.

Visitation is 6-8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, at Hodapp Funeral Home in West Chester, OH. Mass of Christian Burial is noon Friday, Feb. 14, at Good Shepherd Catholic Church in Cincinnati, OH. Interment is in Gate of Heaven Cemetery. A Celebration of Life will be from 2-6 pm at the Quality Hotel & Conference Center Cincinnati Blue Ash in Cincinnati, OH.


David and Louise Goodman - Feb 13, 2020
My husband met Chuck when they worked together at P&G and then I met Barb when we all went out together one evening. The friendship started in 1971 and still continued even when my husband left P&G and opened his own business. It was easy to love Barb with her smile, bright eyes and her beautiful Farrah Fawcett hair. Barb and I bonded quickly since we are both major talkers. She had a positive attitude and was always willing to help people and give of her time. When Barb planned any event she gave it her all, down to the very last detail. To this day after all these years I will still put Gina and Michael's wedding as one of the most beautiful weddings ever starting at the church to the reception - no detail was left out. This past summer we went out to dinner with the Gagel's and I thought I had missed their 50th anniversary day so I bought and brought their gift to the restaurant. When I gave them a large bagged gift they looked surprised and I apologized that we missed their special 50th anniversary day. Well - much to our surprise, I was a year early in giving them their gift. Barb said to hold it until next year but I said no take it now and enjoy it and I will send you are card on your real 50th anniversary day. I am so glad that I did give it to them a year early, never knowing that Barb was going to leave us all too soon. Barb and Chuck are such GREAT and involved parents and now grandparents to all of their children and grand children. Together they set the most beautiful example for their children to see what a good marriage, family and friends are all about. They also made their faith an important part of their life and passed it onto their children. Unfortunately we don't see enough families today that make religion a priority like the Gagel's . We will miss Barb tremendously but she will now be with Gabriella and they will guide the family from above. David and Louise Goodman
Dianna Higgins - Feb 13, 2020
i have had Barbara with me since I received the news on Saturday & so very sad for everyone involved in this horrible loss. Billy, Ronnie, Barbara, & I where all raised as close cousins and many memories have flashed through my mind from childhood!!! She will be so missed and her goodness we can only hope will carry on through all of us!!! May God hold her in the palm of His Hands!!!
Candy Cherry - Feb 12, 2020
Barb was a true beauty and a person I was blessed to call a friend for 55 years. Just being around her and her wonderful family made you feel special. She was like a sister and I will always hold her close in my heart.
Dianne D Bomar - Feb 11, 2020
The Gagels are missing their bright and beautiful star, a shining beacon of love and joy, and we who were immeasurably blessed to know her and call her friend are broken-hearted as well. The blessing of time with Barb far exceeds the sadness of being without her physical presence now.