Community activist Mimi Gabriel of Hopkins dies

Mimi Gabriel, the feisty community activist and unabashed women’s rights supporter, died Thursday, April 4, at University of Michigan Metro Hospitalt is with a broken heart I am letting you know that mom has passed away. 

Her son, Shawn Moulenbelt, reported her death today, saying her passing was after a long battle with lupus and a short battle with cardiac, G.I. and respiratory issues.  

Moulenbelt posted, “Her standing orders were: no visitation, no funeral, no feeling sorry for ourselves. She chose to be cremated and asked for a celebration of life for all who loved her… and there is much to celebrate.”

Tentative place and date for celebration of her life Sunday, May 26, at Barn 1888 in Hopkins.

Ms. Gabriel was a native of the Upper Peninsula and she graduated from Sault Area High School in 1961.

She first was married to Hopkins teacher Bruce Moulenbelt and her son, Shawn, is well known as a local performing musician and knife maker.

Ms. Moulenbelt first gained a lot of publicity in 1973 with Gloria Jean Gleeman and Laura VandenToorn as the three women who took on Michigan Bell Telephone for its lack of coverage for Hopkins, even pointing out that two schools in the district has to make a long distance phone call ion order to get in touch with one another.

The issue later was resolved, but she also got into a disagreement with Ira and Helen Jane Helmey of the Wayland Globe over reportage of her name. She wrote a letter to the editor asking them to refer to her as Mimi Moulenbelt, maintaining, “My name is not Bruce.”

The issue led to her being referred to as a women’s libber.

She later took on the directorship of the Allegan County United Way program, retiring in 2013.

She attended Western Michigan University with an eye toward becoming an English teacher.

Ms. Gabriel married Dallas Kerber, her traveling partner, in 1982. He and Shawn are among her  survivors.

1 thought on “Community activist Mimi Gabriel of Hopkins dies”

  1. Mimi will not only.be missed by her lifetime friends ,but for her contributions to her community. She was a friend since early gradeschool and what a treasure it has been to follow her pat her life.
    Rest in peace my friend.
    Glink & Joe

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