Cover photo for Duane (Butch) Edward Gehl's Obituary

Duane (Butch) Edward Gehl

February 1, 1952 — March 5, 2023


Duane (Butch) Edward Gehl


Duane E. Gehl grew up in the small town of Ossineke, Michigan. He was the second born of five children to John and Catherine Gehl. He shared a close bond with his siblings and numerous cousins. As he grew, he followed in his father’s footsteps and joined the Air Force in October 1974.

Duane was stationed at Keesler Air Force base and by luck alone, met his future wife, Margarita, in New Orleans during a weekend with friends. They married in New Orleans on December 15, 1976. They welcomed Tony in the spring of 1981 and Mike in the summer of 1984. They enjoyed trips to Michigan and Honduras to visit with family. He was a calm and patient father who spent many evenings teaching his son's independence while working on vehicles, home repairs, and shrimping. He enjoyed sitting at the beach with his wife and sons, watching the waves while enjoying a beer. He instilled the value of hard work, honesty, and generosity in both of his boys.

After 20 years of dedicated service, Duane retired from the Air Force. He continued on with a civil service career as a master instructor in ground radar maintenance for 22 years at Keesler Air Force base. In his retirement, he enjoyed sitting on his back porch, listening to nature and watching “his” rabbits. He was a loving grandfather to his six grandchildren. He enjoyed setting them tasks while watching his old western movies in the garage and rewarding those “rotten kids” with sweets.  He would gleefully give “one more” chocolate or ice cream cone while silently daring his daughters-in-law to say “no.” They never did. Papa was never wrong!

He enjoyed endlessly teasing those he loved and kept a smile on their face. A trait he passed down to his sons and grandchildren. He was incredibly proud of his boys and the families they built. His dedication to his loving wife and children lives on through his sons. He was a man of few serious words or complaints, but when you needed advice, he was the person you went to. If life got chaotic and people were overwhelmed, he would always say, “slow down, let me get through today first." There is no easy way to sum up someone’s life and there are not enough words or time to fully explain Duane. At the end of the day, he was a man who loved his wife and family, and that love will always be here. 

The family would like to extend a thank you to the Keesler Medical Group for all the hard work and dedication provided to Duane and his family during this difficult time. 

Friends may visit from 1:00 PM until 2:00 PM on Monday, March 13, 2023 at the Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home, 2511 Pass Road, Biloxi, MS. A graveside service will follow at the Biloxi National Cemetery at 2:30 PM. 

Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home is honored to serve the family and friends of Duane E. Gehl. 

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Duane (Butch) Edward Gehl, please visit our flower store.

Past Services


Monday, March 13, 2023

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Central time)

Bradford-O'Keefe Funeral Home - Pass Road

2511 Pass Road, Biloxi, MS 39531

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Graveside Service

Monday, March 13, 2023

Starts at 2:30 pm (Central time)

Biloxi National Cemetery

400 Veterans Ave., Biloxi, MS 39531

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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