Cover photo for Wilbur J. Gobrecht's Obituary
1930 Wilbur 2023

Wilbur J. Gobrecht

November 4, 1930 — June 5, 2023

Mechanicsburg

It is with sorrow that we announce the passing of Wilbur Jacob “Goby” Gobrecht, beloved husband, father, coach and mentor, who died peacefully on June 5, 2023, at the age of 92.

Goby was born on November 4, 1930, in Hanover, Pennsylvania, to Edward John and Cora (Reichart) Gobrecht. A natural athlete, he distinguished himself in football, basketball, and track, first at Hanover High School, then at Dickinson College, where he earned two McAndrews Awards, and all-state and Little All-America honors for rushing, receiving and passing. He was inducted into Dickinson Athletics’ Hall of Fame in 1976, the South Central Pennsylvania Chapter of the Sports Hall of Fame in 1996, and in the first-ever Hanover High School Sports Hall of Fame in 2015. Goby was a member of Alpha Chi Rho fraternity at Dickinson, and in his senior year served as vice-president.  That year he was elected to Raven’s Claw, an honorary society known as the “White Hats,” and was selected for the “Who’s Who in American Colleges and Universities.”

After graduation from Dickinson in 1952, Goby served in the U.S. Marine Corps as a Second Lieutenant.  This was a formative experience which instilled in him a life of discipline, honor, and service to his country. In 1954, Goby began teaching history and coaching football at Littlestown High School, leading them to multiple conference championships and undefeated seasons.

After a Master of Educational Administration degree from Duke University, Goby returned to Dickinson College in 1960 as an assistant coach, eventually becoming head coach in football and lacrosse, and associate professor of physical education.  In his 33 years at Dickinson, Goby inspired roughly 1,000 student-athletes and many more Phys Ed students, not only on the playing fields and courts, but as a lifelong mentor “known for his enduring relationships,” a former player recounted. In 2006, Goby was the recipient of the Walter E. Beach Distinguished Alumni Award for Service, a distinction which was very dear to him. Goby wrote six volumes of Dickinson College sports history, chronicling the years 1885 to 1996. In the last years of his life, dozens of former players of football and lacrosse gathered in his name to reminisce and express their gratitude to him as their mentor. Dickinson College President John E. Jones III said, “His legacy is spectacular, and his impact is immeasurable.”

Goby was a devoted family man and is survived by his loving wife of 54 years, Marcia Gobrecht; children David Frengel (wife Angela), Peter Frengel (wife Kimberly), and Jennifer (husband Robert) Morrow; grandchildren Emma Frengel Bolan, Henry Frengel, Annabel Frengel, Mia Williams, Zahra Resneck, Theodore Morrow, and Ava Morrow. He is also survived by two great grandchildren, Wesley Slone and Jack Bolan, his sister, Shirley Gobrecht Leister, and multiple nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by his brothers Edward Gobrecht, Jr. and Lewis Gobrecht, and his sister, Jeune “Sis” Gobrecht. Goby was proud of his family and his heritage.  He edited and compiled two volumes of the History of the John Christopher Gobrecht Family in America, 1753-2011.

Goby was a member and former trustee at Paxton Presbyterian Church, and his funeral service will be held there on Sunday, June 11, 2023, at 3500 Sharon St, Harrisburg, PA 17111. Visitation will be at 1:00 PM with the service immediately following at 2:00 PM.

In lieu of flowers donations may be made to the McAndrews Fund for Athletics, Dickinson College, https://our.dickinson.edu/mcandrews .

Kimmel Funeral Home, Harrisburg, is handling arrangements.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Wilbur J. Gobrecht, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Visitation

Sunday, June 11, 2023

1:00 - 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

Paxton Presbyterian Church (Sharon Street, Harrisburg)

3500 Sharon Street, Harrisburg, PA 17111

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Memorial Service

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Starts at 2:00 pm (Eastern time)

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