Mr. Felix Goebel-Komala - Down the Memory Lane – Lasallians Remembered

Mr. Goebel-Komala, Felix

Date of Birth: 11 May 1961 Years of service in LS: 12 Period of Service: 1967 – 1978 Date of Death: 2016


Photo of Mr. Felix Goebel-Komala

Felix Goebel-Komala, son of the late Joseph Padang Sastrono Komala and the late Kathleen Klin Pualam, passed away peacefully in his home from cancer and a stroke on November 2, 2016 at 8:58 pm in Findlay, Ohio. Felix was born May 11, 1961 in Hong Kong and attended La Salle Primary School and La Salle College in Hong Kong. He obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University of Iowa in 1983, and served in music ministry at Holy Rosary Catholic Church in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota, St. Francis Catholic Church in Moorhead, Minnesota, and St. Philip the Apostle Church in Bakersfield, CA before coming to St. Michael the Archangel Parish in 1995 as Director of Liturgy and Music.

Felix was united in holy Matrimony to Mary Goebel-Komala, whom he met in 1986 in Moorhead, MN, and they were married on June 14, 1987. In December 2005, they adopted Felicity, their daughter from the Jianxin Orphanage in Nanchang, Jiangxi Province, China.

Felix was passionate about music – listening, playing, composing, performing and mentoring young musicians. Among the many compositions he created, including several hymns and Psalm settings, he is most known for his signature piece entitled “Psalm of Hope,” which is published by GIA Publications, and is sung during Masses in many Catholic parishes throughout the United States. Additionally, Felix was an active member of the Toledo Diocesan Liturgical Commission for many years, as well as the National Association of Pastoral Musicians, and the American Guild of Organists. His knowledge of both music and Catholic worship was appreciated by many, and his expertise was highly valued.

Felix also enjoyed regular visits with family members and friends in his native Hong Kong, and he displayed his affection for his native land and its culture by the clothing he wore and the food he enjoyed. Additionally, Felix was actively involved in the Women’s Resource Center of Hancock County, and was an avid tennis player.

Felix’s Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated in St. Michael the Archangel Church, on Tuesday, November 8, 2016.

Felix is survived by his wife of 29 years, Mary, and their daughter Felicity, and sisters Sussy Komala, Wilma Komala and Merly Khouw.

Eulogy for Felix Goebel-Komala
Delivered by Sussy Komala, Sister of Felix on November 8, 2016

Let me begin with a story. The year was either 1984 or ’85, possibly even ’86. It was early morning on Good Friday, sometime between 2 and 4 am. I started awake, crying, from a dream that my brother Felix had died. Disturbed, I called him. He was also awake. How strange, he said, I’ve been feeling depressed recently, and then we spoke for an hour or so, during which time he talked about all that was on his mind, his music, dreams, religion, work. Life.

I share this intimate memory of Felix when he was a young man, long before he became a member of this community, at a time when he was still trying to shape the path of his life, before he met our sister-in-law Mary and became Felix Goebel-Komala.

My brother has always lived the examined life. He was never afraid to share his feelings and struggles and uncertainties, in conversations over long distance phone lines, or in person, while in transit, later on email, in the myriad ways our family connects and meets. My brother Felix instinctively knew the need to seek the truth, the way all artists must, which is not to be satisfied with the surface of things, but to dredge the heart in the darkest and most painful moments of our existence. Felix always had the courage to confront his fears, to give voice to his doubts. In time, he would give voice to that truth in his beautiful composition “Psalm of Hope” — my God, my God, why have you abandoned me. And in its existential crisis the song returns to the amazing grace that saved and set me free.

But I also tell you the story of this brief, private moment to speak to the importance of family for Felix. We who have always been a part of his life know the consolation of family for our darker times. When my father died unexpectedly and abruptly, it was Felix’s voice that comforted us. He sang “O Holy Night,” recalling the way Dad sang every Christmas. The power and purity of our brother’s voice was uplifting, inspiring, and allowed us to grieve into the sanctum of eternity.

Felix is the youngest of four siblings, the only boy among three sisters who teased, bullied, harassed him — “Wait first, wait a minute!” — he would exclaim in exasperation when we rushed him, pushing the limits as children will. He was our Felix the Cat, of course, the boy who made us laugh, who became the joyous, creative man, a loving and generous human being, the brother who was there at our side when family celebrates, laughs, explodes and cries.

When my mother’s behavior choked into a sputtering, inexplicable mode, it was our brother who had the courage to obtain that devastating diagnosis, Alzheimer’s. And it forced us to face the truth of what that meant, of how all our lives would have to change. It was easier to confront with Felix, because he knew Mum in a special way that allowed him to help her, which eased the path for the rest of us to do the right thing.

And here we are today, to honor his memory, and we see who our brother became, the legacy he leaves us as composer, singer, musician, tennis player, liturgist. A member of this community. In the days before today, we sifted through messages from relatives, friends and strangers who care about him. Right now, I am staring at a sea of mostly strangers, and I know Felix must be greatly loved and cherished for so many of you to be here today.

For us, his sisters, we are most grateful for the loving people Felix brought into our lives. When we met Mary Goebel, the woman he wanted to marry, we all instantly liked her, and in time, she became much more than a sister-in-law, because we named her our “fifth sib.” Together, Mary and Felix gave us the even greater gift of their daughter Felicity.

So let me leave you with this image of Felix and Felicity when she was just a little girl, in Hong Kong on board the MTR, the city’s subway that the three of us were riding together. Felix was carrying Felicity. Suddenly, she stuck her hands up in the air and grabbed the handlebars across the top of the carriage and swung herself forward across the car, legs dangling. My brother followed her as the passengers gazed, amazed, at this agile little monkey girl up in the air. Fearless, Felix said. Just fearless.

I’ve told my niece that her dad will always be with her. Felix Goebel-Komala is indeed The Man in our lives, and more importantly, he will forever be that man in all our hearts.

Sussy Komala
Sister of Felix


Contributed by: Mary Goebel-Komala         2019-04-04 03:15:57
Description: Thank you for the beautiful tribute to my husband, Felix Goebel-Komala, on your website.
Categories: Deceased, Old Boys