Shelley Gabert (1961-2017) was a lifelong friend of our mom and later in life, thankfully, developed a friendship with us boys and our wives. She was one of the biggest cheerleaders of what we were working on in the vineyard and winery. As an author, she was a fan of anything created out of the imagination, and as a friend, she had an ability to make you laugh with her wonderful personality. This picture was shared recently of Shelley and her friends as kids, including my mom, with the same smiles they continued to share decades later:
Shelley was a passionate writer as evidenced by her unwavering efforts as editor of HER Magazine and dedication to the News Tribune. She took the time to really dive into her stories, to immerse herself in the passions of the subjects she was covering and it was reflected, in turn, by the story she put on paper. Central Missouri has lost a great voice but it is our sincere hope that her legacy is honored by continued efforts to maintain these publications and her vision.
We had the tremendous honor of Shelley covering our own passion, as she most eloquently put it, in her article, “The Romance of the Grape”. I will never forget the first time she came to visit the vineyard (the second year after we planted) and the scope of it all was finally sinking in. I was working on a fairly warm summer day, the amount of toiling was outpacing my patience as frustration grew, and my mom brought Shelley to see it. Despite my grumbling that day, Shelley was as encouraging as you can imagine. She told me it was all wonderful, that it will all work out, and just to be persistent and to not lose patience. This advice will be something I will always cherish. It was a year later that she came back to write our story and in her unique way, was able to put our passion into words. That was her gift. As another Missouri author (Twain) once said, “The best way to cheer yourself up is to try to cheer somebody else up”. I can attest that Shelley was a master at this.
Please keep her family and friends in your prayers in the coming days and weeks for peace in the wake of this sudden loss. We lost a family member, a friend, and a uniquely talented individual.
To Shelley, we will miss you.
“The road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.”