Charlene Gahimer John
Charlene Gahimer John was born to Ed and Roxie Gahimer. Her father Ed was a son of William Gahimer and Salome Hirtzel. Ed, Roxie, and their children stayed on the homestead and cared for William as he aged. In the photo above, young Charlene has her hand holding her grandpa close. She grew up in the house that William built and had raised his children in. This farm was close to the homestead of her great-grandfather, Jacob Gegenheimer. She married Frank John, and they settled into a home on a farm close to her family homestead. Later, in the last years of Ed’s life, she moved her father into her home, and quit her job to care for him until his death. Throughout her life, Charlene heard many first-hand stories about Jacob Gegenheimer and his children, and she’s come to know a great many other Gahimers.
In the early 1980’s she began making a detailed genealogical record of all of the branches of Jacob Gegenheimer. This continued until her passing in March 2017 – she amassed over 500 pages of information on the ancestors and descendants of Johann “Jacob” Gegenheimer – and she was in a unique position to do this. Her work is provided on this website under this link. Her information is a treasure to the family, and, like the young girl with her hand on her grandpa, it’s keeping us all connected.
My father, Frederick H. Gahimer, was the great-grandson of William Gahimer (William -> Conrad -> Carl -> Fred). After my father retired, he became very interested in his family history, and worked tirelessly to compile a rich record of our ancestors: their lives, their challenges, their sorrows, their triumphs, and their legacies. He also loved to tell us stories about our ancestors, and his enthusiasm inspired me to take an interest in genealogy. Like other genealogists, it meant much more to him than merely digging up information on our ancestors. He always said that genealogy research was more journey than destination. It never ends. With every generation back in time, the number of ancestors doubles from the generation before. And with every new generation being born, there was an ever growing set of descendants who were also interested in understanding their ancestors. It was like an endless jigsaw puzzle that he was working with many family members and friends.
Often, full of excitement, he would tell us about one of the new family members or friends he met through his genealogy research — who they were and where they lived and some of their life stories. And he’d describe the pieces of information they shared and how that fit into the bigger picture. He enjoyed the social aspects of this hobby as much as filling in the puzzle. His genealogy work was all about the people, and making connections with those who have gone before us, and with those who are sharing our journey during our brief time on the Earth.
It was important to Dad to share the histories he compiled with others so they can benefit as well. I think about the Bible stories which recount the lives of our very distant ancestors so that we can learn from their lives, relate to their suffering, model their faith and strength, share in their joy and their happiness, become connected with those we wish we could have known and hope that someday we will meet in Heaven, and grow closer to God through the manifestation of His will in their lives, and the demonstration of His infinite love through their many blessings. Similarly Dad wanted to leave us a record of our more recent ancestors. Through his research he discovered a richness of life and character in many of our ancestors that had previously been obscured and reduced through the filter of time to mere names in Bible genealogies and public records.
By understanding our ancestors, we gain a better understanding of ourselves. And although we are separated by time, we share so many traits, desires, strengths, and weaknesses that we can feel comforted by this familiarity extending back for countless generations. Just as we’re all children of one Father, so too we belong to a large family of ancestors, and the genealogy record reminds us of the unbroken string of parents and children that leads all the way back to Adam.
In 2000, Dad was diagnosed with a debilitating disease like Alzheimer’s called Diffuse Lewy Bodies Disease with Parkinson’s Symptoms. His memory deteriorated rapidly until his health failed and he departed this Earth in April 2005 — at which point he left us and joined his Maker, his parents, sister, grandparents, friends, and family…and his many ancestors. I’ve no doubt that he’s with them in Heaven, swapping stories, filling in missing puzzle pieces, and continuing his genealogy research through first-hand interviews. And he’s discovering new family members and new friends.
Before his memory failed, he gave me all of his files, so I have become the caretaker of his research materials. Dad was extremely grateful for all of the tremendous genealogy help and information that he received from so many people. And so, like those who generously shared their information with him, it was his will that his materials be shared with anyone with an interest in our ancestors. This website was created to share the stories and information that Dad and others have compiled.
In addition to the information provided in this website, Dad has many more facts and photos in his files of people mentioned in these stories, as well as information on other people related to the people mentioned in these stories. If you’re looking for more information on any of these family lines, please contact me and I’d be glad to provide whatever we have.
I hope that you find these stories as engaging and inspiring as I have. And I hope we can continue working the jigsaw puzzle, filling in the pieces upward, and growing the circle of friends downward.
Dave Gahimer is the son of Virgil Gahimer, grandson of George Gahimer, and great-grandson of William Gahimer. For years he has been a key contributor to the Gahimer genealogy research, but perhaps Dave is better known for his beautiful wood turning artwork.
From the TERRE HAUTE Tribune-Star, April 1, 2011 TERRE HAUTE — Dave Gahimer of Rockville will be featured in a one-man show of his wood turnings in the main gallery of the Palestine Art Center, 110 S. Main St, Palestine, Ill. The exhibit starts today and runs through April. Gahimer is an artist and historian who grew up in Shelby County. His father was also a wood artist and made furniture for their home. Gahimer took shop in high school and built a grandfather clock as his senior project. The clock is fashioned after a design by his teacher, Jessie Maurice Trotter. Upon joining the Naval Submarine Service he continued woodworking in the naval base hobby shop. “My mission is to honor long gone craftsmen and artisans whose work lives on in small items and props found in the paintings of the Great Masters”, said Gahimer of his “Turnings from Antiquity.” Gahimer is an electrical engineer and was on staff at Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in the Electrical Engineering Department. Access to the Carpenter Shop at Rose allowed his interest in wood and woodworking to develop even further. He was an understudy with master turners Dan Moore, Charles Hutson and Larry Myers. Gahimer has retired from engineering and devotes his time to his love of wood and woodworking at the home he and his wife, Dorothy, built in rural Park County. He has a studio and woodworking shop at his residence. Gahimer has studied the turning designs of Egyptians, Greeks and Romans by course, and in galleries and museums in these countries. He has studied the paintings of the past great masters, which often include turned objects such as cups, goblets, candlesticks and urns, some from 600 to 2,000 years ago. “I use an ancient painting as a time machine, studying small details to transport my thoughts of the artist that painted it. Glaring errors in time quickly stand out. For example, fine glassware on the table of the “Last Supper” by some artists is anachronistic. Usually though, the items and settings around the primary subject in works will tell volumes about the daily life of the people at that time in history. Furniture style and how it was constructed, and buildings’ interiors and exteriors give a hint of how professional architects and designers conceived their work. I believe turned objects are timeless and are appreciated and loved today as they were long ago.” Gahimer’s philosophy? You may have noticed that all too often the real artisans of something we admire are not the ones honored. Who were the workmen who built Pharaoh’s tomb? Who remembers the men who built and crafted the elegant furnishings of the Titanic? Who built the Golden Gate Bridge? Did we ever hear the names of the engineers and technicians who built the Mars rovers and who made the turnings that were used as props in the great masters’ paintings? Gahimer has traced his ancestry back to the Rheine Phaltz in Germany in the 1100s. They were knights and artisan carvers. His mother’s French ancestors emigrated from the Nance Region of France in the 1640s to North America and were winemakers and artisans. Watching his mother, Girtha Marie Boyer, paint instilled an interest in art in him.
Follow this link to see some samples and his current pieces for sale.