Carl Frank Richard Geupel, age 92, formerly of Allegan, Michigan, peacefully passed away surrounded by his family on January 28, 2023. Carl was born May 26, 1930 in Weehawken, New Jersey as an only child to Carl and Elisabeth Geupel.
Carl’s family was the love, joy and epicenter of his life. He leaves behind his daughters, Lauren Geupel and Leslie Stratton and Carl’s son-in-law, Major Robert Stratton. Also, his nephews, John Stegeman and wife, Linda, Thomas Stegeman and wife, Lori, his grandnephew, Sean Stegeman and wife, Katelynn, his great-grandnephew Jaxson Stegeman and his grandniece, Paige Stegeman. He was preceded by his parents and his loving wife, Neysa McGowan Geupel and his brother and sister-in-law, John Stegeman and Karen Stegeman Miller.
Carl was industrious from a young age, working in his first job at a traditional soda fountain. He joined the US Navy at the age of 17 to proudly serve his country. He was stationed internationally at Naval Station Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from 1947 to 1950. Following his service, Carl moved to Boynton Beach Florida, where he purchased, owned and operated the Rath’s Motel in partnership with his parents.
Rath’s is where he met the love of his life, Neysa, who was vacationing with her parents, Clyde and Angelin McGowan. Carl and Neysa shared a whirlwind courtship. After just two trips to Allegan, Neysa’s hometown, they were engaged to be married in 1957. A real-life love story resulting in 64 years of marriage. The couple lived in Florida for a few years, enjoying the sun and running the motel which had become a successful family business.
In 1960, Carl and Neysa moved to Allegan to be near her parents for the birth of their first daughter. They purchased and operated the Graystone Motel in Three Rivers. By the time their second daughter was born, Carl had sold the Graystone and joined his father-in-law, at McGowan’s Men’s Store, located in the heart Allegan. They worked together building their clientele until Clyde’s retirement in 1967, at which time, Carl purchased McGowan’s.
Respected and loved, Carl became a well-known, yet quiet pillar of the community. He served on the Board of Directors for both Allegan General Hospital and the Allegan Public Library. He attended the First Congregational Church for nearly 50 years and served for decades as the Church Financial Advisor on their Board of Trustees. He also served on the Allegan Chamber of Commerce. Carl was awarded Businessman of the Year in Allegan in 1994.
Carl was a kind and innovative businessman, often letting customers at McGowan’s take clothing home “on loan” to ensure their satisfaction before they paid. He truly enjoyed his career and his customers at McGowan’s Men’s Store “where quality was a tradition.” Following his retirement, Carl and Neysa moved to Kalamazoo.
During his life, Carl avidly enjoyed nature and photography, taking thousands of landscape and wildlife photos, only to be asked by Neysa, “Where are the people?” while they both would laugh. He loved driving, travel, and classical music and opera. Beethoven, Vivaldi, and Mozart were his favorite composers. Conversely, he cherished the Beatles sharing the music loudly with his family. Carl was a voracious reader pursuing everything from poetry, biographies, short stories, fiction and non-fiction. He studied history, art, science, and religion and current news. Over the years, Carl and Neysa were silent philanthropists donating to local causes and individuals in the community.
Describing Carl’s character sounds fictional but to those closest to him they knew it to be true. He was a man of honor. He was gentle man and a gentleman. He had great inner strength and fortitude. Carl had unique insight which gave his perspective and outlook on life a clever and unexpected twist of humor. He was gifted with innate intelligence and was smilingly referred to as a “renaissance man” by both friends and family. Neysa claimed his most redeeming quality was his endless patience. Even during his last years, while living with Parkinson’s, Carl remained steadfast to his true character, never complaining and always expressing his love and gratefulness to and for his family.
Carl’s final home was with Leslie and Robert in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan where he enjoyed bird watching on the deck, daily fun FaceTime calls with Lauren, and an abundance of loving care.
In his humility and sense of privacy, he planned in advance that no memorial service be arranged. Acknowledgements of his good life can be honored with a donation to Careline Hospice Health Group, In Memory of Carl Geupel, 801 Rosehill Rd, Jackson, MI 49202. IJN.