Ryan Gabel, a standout tennis player at St. Francis de Sales High School and Bowling Green State University who worked for private equity firms in New York before joining Owens Corning, died Sunday in China.
Mr. Gabel, 37, of Sylvania Township, committed suicide in Shanghai, where he was on assignment for Owens Corning, his father, Bob Gabel, said.
He had worked since last May in mergers and acquisitions for the Toledo-based company.
Harry Shaw, vice president of corporate development said: “Ryan was a valued member of our team and a warm and caring colleague. We will miss him.”
Mr. Gabel said his son was very personable and quick to make friends, whether it was acquaintances he made through his fraternity, high school or college, athletics, or professionally.
“He had an uncanny ability to stay in touch with these friends,” he said. “He was a people person. He had a friendly smile. He was always willing to help and always willing to mentor. He was a good listener, and he relied on his faith.”
Alyson Schlageter, said her brother was devoted to his parents, siblings, and other family members. She said he was the family member who gave speeches and toasts at family dinners, gatherings, and celebrations.
“He was so compassionate. He was the first person to listen if you had a problem. He touched so many people,” she said.
He was born Sept. 11, 1975, to Diana and Bob Gabel. He attended St. Joseph School in Sylvania and continued at St. Francis de Sales High School, where he excelled at tennis. He was a three-time City League champion at No. 1 singles for the Knights, including his senior year when he was a state finalist. He also played varsity basketball for the Knights.
After graduating in 1994, he went to BGSU on a scholarship and continued his success academically and on the tennis court. He played with the Falcon tennis team from 1994 to 1998.
He was awarded the Male Junior Athlete of the Year for 1996-97, when he led the Falcons with a 22-9 singles mark and posted a 16-15 record on the doubles team. He was co-captain of the tennis squad and earned Academic All-American honors.
A member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, he received a bachelor’s degree with a major in finance in 1998, graduating summa cum laude and was awarded the President’s Award in the business school. He gave the May, 1998, graduation commencement speech.
Mr. Gabel spent the next 11 years in New York with three firms. He took a position as a financial analyst with Prudential Securities Inc., and later served as an analyst in mergers and acquisitions at Banc of America Securities LLC. He also was vice president at Pouschine Cook Capital Management LLC.
Mr. Gabel said his son also sat on the boards at several companies while he was employed with the private equity firms.
“He loved it. But it was tremendously long hours and a lot of travel,” he said.
In 2009, Mr. Gabel joined Savage Consulting in East Toledo, assisting owner Bob Savage, Jr., in early stage business develpment and advising a local venture capital fund.
“Ryan was one of our top people at the time. We were certainly very grateful for him being there. He was an extremely talented guy who got along with everybody and had a lot of positive energy,” Mr. Savage said.
Mr. Gabel was accepted in 2010 into the Fisher Fellowship College of Business and awarded a fellowship to attend the Ohio State University MBA program. He advised undergraduates for the Fisher Futures Program. He completed an internship at Owens Corning in the summer of 2011, and took a position with the company after graduating last May.
In recent years, Mr. Gabel took up running and competed in half and full marathons. He ran the Columbus Marathon in October, 2010, earning a time that was good enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon the following April.
Mrs. Schlageter said she and other relatives went to Boston to cheer him on, and watching him run inspired her. She said he helped her set up a training program and ran with her.
Surviving are his parents, Diana and Bob Gabel; grandparents, Grace Chapman and Herb Boyer; sisters, Kristin Little and Alyson Schlageter, and brother, Brandon Gabel.
Visitation is noon to 9 p.m. Friday at Walker Funeral Home. Services are at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in St. Joseph Church, Sylvania.
Tributes are suggested to the Ryan Gabel 1994 Scholarship Fund at St. Francis de Sales High School.
Contact Mark Reiter at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6199.