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Final salute to Myakka City 'icon'

Celebration of Life held for Herrmann's Royal Lipizzan Stallions matriarch Gabby Herrmann.

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It was, indeed, time for the Myakka City community to say goodbye to Herrmann's Lipizzan Stallions' matriarch Gabby Herrmann.

Herrmann's family held a Celebration of Life service May 8 to honor her following her March 13 death at the age of 66. The services were held in May after the performance season had ended.

Approximately 150 friends and family members gathered to exchange stories and memories of Herrmann's life. After those in attendance visited with each other, a 45-minute service was held with Father Vincent Clemente of the St. James Catholic Church of Lake Placid and Pastor Matt Curley of the United Methodist Church of Myakka presiding.

Father Clemente said Herrmann glorified God through her work, noting she was like the good shepherd with her great love and commitment for the horses and her ranch. Pastor Curley said the Herrmann family, which he called devoted Catholics, were always supported of all the churches in Myakka.

Rebecca McCullough, Herrmann's daughter who now will head the family business, told those in attendance her mother was "a force of nature and a local icon."

Longtime resident Marilyn Coker, who became Myakka City's postmaster in 1962, told the crowd stories of Herrmann's early life after she moved to Myakka City when she was 6. She recalled how in November of 2010, Herrmann agreed to a partnership with the Myakka City Historical Society in order to renovated the historic Myakka City School House.

Herrmann held 12 annual benefits to raise money toward that effort and Coker said each one had a special theme and costumes. 

"Everyone knew of her love and support of the Myakka City community, its churches and its businesses. She was so generous in sharing her ranch with the community."

To cap the service, McCullough released the Lipizzan stallion Argentos into the arena. Both McCullough and her daughter, Sydney McCullough, eventually went into the ring with Argentos.

Argentos was the last horse Herrmann had ridden.

Playing in the background was "Time to Say Goodbye," by Andrea Bocelli. It was the song that ended all of the Herrmann's Lipizzan Stallions' performances.

Those in attendance had the option of attending a buffet at the United Methodist Church. They filed away past a collection of photos that had been assembled by the family, including Herrmann's husband, Jerry Caudill, her brother Guido Herrmann and McCullough. 

In front of the display were the words, "Your wings were ready; Our hearts were not."

Rebecca McCullough spends the final moments of the service in the ring with Argentos, the last horse ridden by Herrmann.
Rebecca McCullough spends the final moments of the service in the ring with Argentos, the last horse ridden by Herrmann.



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