The Gabrieles: Who were they?

By: Ryan Famuliner Email
By: Ryan Famuliner Email

The news of Philip and Marcella Gabriele’s death hit friends and neighbors of the couple hard Monday.

Friends say they were simply a happy couple, involved in an ugly mess.

For years, the Gabrieles competed in national ball room dancing contests, And brought in professional trainers from around the country to teach them the latest moves.

“Beautiful, beautiful to watch,” Said Dan O’Day who owns the dance studio the Gabrieles used for years. They'd bring a tear to your eye, a different kind of tear than today... It's something so far beyond comprehension because they loved life.”

“It was something they did as a couple at first it was entertainment, a little hobby for them, but then it became an obsession,” O’Day said.

O’Day says the couple stopped coming to their regular dance studio about a year and a half ago.

“It was shortly after they first started getting investigated and I think the pressure was on. I think that's when we started seeing them drop out of dancing,” O’Day said.

Meantime, neighbors say the Gabrieles' Granger home was always quiet, and that the couple usually kept to themselves.

“Just like everyone else, they’d wave and say hi, did yard work. Other than that I didn't really talk to them, didn't see anything unusual over there,” said Rishabh Kohli, who lives across the street.

But things got even quieter over the last month or so.

“We haven't seen them, I think they've been gone somewhere for the week... It's been very quiet over there,” said Marianne Cira, who lives next door.

Others that knew the couple tell us they frankly didn't have a lot of friends.

But they had each other, and they had the dance floor.

“It was remarkable to see them dance; it's a shame we're not going to see it again… Maybe they made mistakes, we don't know. A lot of people make mistakes but it's hard to think it drives them to that level of outcome at the end you know,” O’Day said.

Friends say Dr. Gabriele always talked about how he loved his work. They also made sure to point out that the couple did a lot of charity work over the years, and Dr. Gabriele even received an award last year for giving free eye care to poor and under-insured people.

Another neighbor says Dr. Gabriele told him many times that he was innocent; that the charges were bogus, and that he'd planned on showing that in court.

Dr. Gabriele also worked at Grossnickle Eye Care in Mishawaka before starting his own eye institute.

O’Day says the couple did not have any kids. He says he met them after the moved here from Ohio. He said they were originally from Pennsylvania, so they don't have a lot of family in our area, either.

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