Gisela Ingrid Duell (née Wagner), born July 9th, 1938, passed away peacefully, awake, and surrounded by her children, on Monday, June 13th, 2022.

Gisela was born in Dortmund, Germany to Oscar Johannes (“Hans”) Wagner and Elise Flora (“Lissi”) Wagner.  At the age 8 her family moved to Pakistan, where she spent her childhood and teen years before returning to Germany as a young woman.  While visiting her family in Pakistan, she met an American soldier named Raymond Duell, and they eventually decided to marry and move to the United States, where she became a citizen in 1969. Gisela worked to put Raymond through Union College’s engineering program, and then became a housewife and mother. Her daughter Kirsten Denise was born in 1967, and her son Jason Clark in 1970.  Raymond went into a career in the oil industry, which took the family to Libya (1976-1980), Nigeria (1980-82) and the Sultanate of Oman (1982-92).

Gisela decided to strike out on her own later in life. Her children grown, she and Raymond parted ways and she moved to Canada and then to the US. She worked as an office administrator, first for her dear friend from Pakistan, Toronto business empresario Peggy Dean, then later for the University of Arizona’s health services department.  While in Tucson, Gisela took an active interest in the city’s arts scene, contributing for many years to the local Art Walk and other events. She was herself a sharp-eyed collector of art, with a wide-ranging collection of Mexican, Nigerian, Arabic, Indigenous, and other pieces.

Upon retiring, Gisela decided to be closer to family, and moved to Colorado to be near her daughter Kirsten. For many years she owned and maintained a stylish apartment full of her art collection in Littleton, Colorado. It was a fun gathering place for the friends she made – Jerri,  Norm, Janine, and longest-term of all, Darlene. Throughout her later years her best friends and constant companions were her dogs, (Bella, Lucy, and finally, Charlie), to whom she was singularly devoted.

Gisela’s final years were centered around her struggle with Lewy-Body dementia.  She moved in with Kirsten, and lived with her condition with dignity, much joy, and her personality recognizably intact even until the very end.

Gisela remained an avid reader and follower of the news even as her dementia deepened.  In this past year she learned of Colorado’s new law permitting the composting of human remains, and made it very clear that this was her preferred way for after she left this life. We are honoring her wishes and were delighted with the ceremony we held on June 16th sending her off to become soil in the next 4-6 months. Lots of memories, mementos, and laughter were shared.

Long term plans for Gisela include becoming the soil for a pollinating flower garden in her daughter Kirsten’s front yard.  She may also find some time to simultaneously sail around the world’s oceans with her son on a sailboat.  Although it will be a treasure to keep her around in these ways, we will all very much miss having her in human form. She was so witty, kind, and beautiful.

Duell Gisela Ingrid obit photo 2 244x300

2 thoughts on “Gisela Ingrid Duell”

  1. My wife, Randi & I met Ray & Gisela back in 1964. We were “apartment neighbors” on Union Street in Schenectady Ray going to Union and I to SUNY @ Albany. My car was totaled by a drunk. Ray lent me his old VW that you had to start with a screwdriver to get back and forth to school. That was the beginning of wonderful friendship that lasted many years. We had many parties, drank a considerable amount of beer and really enjoyed the each others friendship. Ho, the stories I could tell. My wife Randi passed away back in March……First Ray now Gisela…..The world is a lesser place without them.

  2. I met Gisela at the health center when I was an international student at the University of Arizona in September 2005. I needed to see her for my health insurance. When I entered her office, I saw familiar pictures on her office wall. She told me about the journey of her life and the places she grew up as a child. Then she said she is host mom to 3 international students and asked me if I want to come to her house for a dinner. I said yes. Since then, she invited me to more dinners and some activities at her house and introduced me to her friends. In time of need she offered me her house to stay in. Then she helped me to get my first job. She was communicating with my first boss herself. Then she helped me to rent a nice apartment. With the help of one other good friend, she has helped me in so many ways throughout of my life. She came to me as an angel at the right time and at the right place. May God bless her soul and may angels cheers her soul as she cheered others throughout of her life time.Amen!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *