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Earl “Dean” Drebes

Earl “Dean” Drebes, 87, Palmyra, Mo., passed away Friday evening, Aug. 4, 2023, at his home in Palmyra.

Dean was born Aug. 23, 1935, in Palmyra, Mo., to Walter and Gladys Yager Drebes. He was married to Gloria J. Vaillancourt on May 28, 1956, in Palmyra. She preceded him in death on Aug. 13, 2016.

Earl “Dean” Drebes

Survivors include his children, Ed Drebes (Lis), Champagne, Ill.; Julie Ives (Rich), Jefferson City, Mo.; Tracy Graupman (Kris), Palmyra; and Joni Silver (Greg Jones), Palmyra; brother, Walter Drebes (Delores), Palmyra; sister, Jane Cozad, Clarenda, Iowa; grandchildren, Kassie Taylor (Greg), Nikki Cory (Tucker), Samantha Irwin (Levi), Hilary Kelly (Darin), Darrell Silver II (Nicole), Millie Silver, Lacey Carey (Zach), Mariah Bocketti (Brad) and Colten Drebes; great-grandchildren, Wyatt Taylor, Kaden Taylor, Bryden Doyle, Navy Cory, Brynlee Carey, Collins Carey, Quinn Carey, Brooks Silver, Adeline Silver, Adelaide Irwin, Jona Kelly and Hudson Bocketti; and numerous nieces, nephews and extended family.

Dean was preceded in death by his parents; wife of 60 years, Gloria Drebes; sisters, Oneta Crane, Glenna Rigney and Marion Gard; and brothers, Emmitt Drebes, Lewis Drebes and Herb Drebes.

Professionally Dean dedicated 44 years to Northeast Power in Palmyra. He retired as superintendent of the power plant.

Dean lived his life to the fullest, finding joy in even the smallest things, blackberry picking, mushroom hunting or watching a Cardinals game or Wheel of Fortune on TV. 

He was a family man, devoted to his children and grandchildren, and as far as he was concerned, his wife Gloria hung the moon. His zest for life is evident in the stories the kids share of times spent ice skating, sled riding, hunting and fishing with dad. Usually his favorite times were just hanging out at home frying up some fish, making wine while Gloria made the donuts, and welcoming the neighborhood kids as they traipsed through his yard to the pool. 

Dean made sure their home was warm and welcome, and a place where fond memories could be made while playing cards or dominoes and listening to country music with Kick-FM on the radio. 

He enjoyed the many trips the family made together and his kids fondly remember his commentary of “I guess I can stand it, if you can!” and remember the smile on his face when he says, “I love you more!”

Dean has been a member of Zion Lutheran Church since 1956 when he married Gloria. Over his 67 years with his church family, he was always there in a pew on Sunday and gave his time where he could, even serving as church president for a time.

Funeral services will begin at 11 a.m., Thursday Aug. 10, at Lewis Brothers. Pastor Wes Gherke will officiate. Burial to follow at Greenwood Cemetery in Palmyra.

Pallbearers will be Ed Drebes, Greg Taylor, Darrell Silver II, Colton Drebes, Kaden Taylor, Bryden Doyle, Levi Irwin, Zach Carey, and Tucker Cory.

Honorary pallbearers will be Walt Drebes, Leo Powell, Steve Rueter, Rich Ives, Kris Graupman, Greg Jones, Brad Bocketti, Darin Kelly, Shannon Bishop and Dean’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

Friends and family are invited to Dean’s life celebration and visitation from 9 to 11 a.m. Aug. 10, at Lewis Brothers Funeral Chapel.

Memorials may be made to Zion Lutheran Church or St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

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