Three members of the Mansfield family who died June 22 in an accident near Knoxville, Tennessee, dedicated their lives to serving others.
Peter Webel, 75, and his wife Linda Webel, 76, and Peter’s sister Frieda Gottschling, 80, all of Mansfield, died in the two-vehicle crash in Anderson County, the report said Tennessee Highway Patrol Preliminary.
The three Mansfielders resided at the Apostolic Christian Church Retreat Center on Logan Road.
Erwin Webel, a nephew of Peter and Frieda, said his relatives were returning from Florida to help his Aunt Frieda bring back the contents of her apartment after selling it in Florida.
“My Uncle Pete was helping him get the car back,” he said.
They moved to the United States with their parents from Vinkovci, Croatia in 1955.
Erwin said the six siblings lived together in Croatia after World War II, and 60 years later all lived in the same retirement community until the crash.
Erwin said his grandfather John Webel (Peter and Frieda’s father) said the reason he left the former Yugoslavia, in what is now Croatia, was because he didn’t want his children become atheists or communists.
Parents owned Webels Fruit Farm
Peter and Frieda’s father and mother, John and Anna Webel, were the owner-operators of Webels Fruit Farm on Mansfield Lucas Road.
Peter was born in Vinkovci, Croatia to parents John and Anna (Pfeiffer) Webel. He served four years as a medic in the US Army and worked as a toolmaker at General Motors, retiring after 26 years of service.
His wife, Linda Ruth Betz, was born in 1945 in Mansfield to parents Anton and Olga Amelia (Getz) Betz, and she worked as a substitute teacher for 15 years and enjoyed playing the piano, singing hymns and playing card games. with the grandchildren.
Peter and Linda were staunch believers who loved the Lord, their family, their church family and the Mansfield community, their family said. They served the Lord in many ways, including volunteering for World Relief, according to their obituary in the News Journal.
Their heart for young people led them to lead teams of young missionaries in Jamaica for many years.
Peter’s passion for the peoples of Eastern Europe has led him to serve on the Apostolic Church’s World Relief Council as well as the European Relief Council. He has made several trips to Romania and Ukraine, returning from a trip only a few weeks ago.
He has volunteered upkeep with Mansfield Women’s Shelter, delivered to local food banks and served the community in Christian love.
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Together, Peter and Linda supported the missionary work of the church – supporting natural disaster teams in the United States and mission teams in Jamaica, Mexico and Haiti.
The Webel family will receive friends Friday from 2-7 p.m. at Mansfield Apostolic Christian Church Fellowship Hall, 84 N. Illinois Ave. Their funeral will be held at the Illinois Avenue Church building on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. The service will be led by the Apostolic Church. They will be buried together at Mansfield Memorial Park.
Frieda mastered 3 languages
Frieda Webel Gottschling was the second of six children. She emigrated with her parents and siblings from Croatia in May 1955 due to concerns about communist ideology and a strong desire for religious freedom, according to her obituary.
The family immigrated to Germany and stayed for a short time, until they were approved to come to America in October 1955 and settled in Mansfield.
Due to her early life experiences, Frieda remained proficient in three languages. She found and married her love, Martin Gottschling Jr., also a German émigré from Romania, on July 23, 1960.
Frieda loved her role as a housewife. She graduated with a Registered Nurse (RN) degree and then North Central Technical College and had a successful career in various nursing positions.
She was the owner-operator of Anna’s Touch, which provided mastectomy forms to breast cancer survivors. His later career years were spent helping the Richland County Health Department.
Her son Martin Gottschling said his mother lived next door to his brother Peter and his wife in the retirement community in a duplex.
“Mom was always doing something for someone. That’s how she lived her life,” he said. “She wasn’t sitting in a chair looking out the window. All three of them had very active lives.”
Martin Gottschling said his mother and uncle came to America knowing that anything is possible if you work hard.
“Six kids, six suitcases and they learned to scratch and skimp,” he said of how his mother was raised as their family fled communism.
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Roll call hours will be Monday from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Christian Apostolic Church, 1332 Middle Bellville Road for Frieda Gottschling, where the funeral will be held Tuesday at 11 a.m. with Erwin Webel officiating. Interment will follow at Mansfield Cemetery. Beginning at 11 a.m., the funeral will be available to watch live on accmansfield.org.
Martin Gottschling said his mother left instructions that she did not want to be personally praised in her obituary, but rather wanted the praise to be given to God as he gave her all of her abilities.