In Memory

Gabriel Kreiswirth

November 25, 1935 – September 6, 2014

Upon learning of Gabe's passing, an old friend e-mailed this which sums him up perfectly.

"My friend Gabe, the teacher, journalist, artist, musician and father".

Gabe was born on Long Island, New York to Ann and David Kreiswirth. The family relocated to Pasadena where Gabe attended high school before going to UCLA where he earned a BA in English. He later earned an MFA in Art at California State University Long Beach. Before he began his teaching career, he was in the US Army reserve, was a police reporter for the Mirror News, the then afternoon paper of the L.A. Times, and a reporter for the Culver City Star News.

In 1963 he began his long career at West High School, first as an English teacher, then for most of his 43 years as an Art teacher. He also taught Life Drawing at El Camino College and taught privately after his retirement from West. His paintings hang in many private collections and, as a side note, Elton John, upon seeing one of Gabe's paintings in a gallery, bought it for his birthday present to himself. Another passion of Gabe's was jazz – listening and playing (baritone sax as a young man, and standup bass later).

But those all paled in comparison to Gabe's love of family – his wife, Deborah Mishler; his children with Sandra Kreiswirth, Britt, Seth and Ethan (wife, Susie) and his fabulous grandchildren, Hannah Pearl (Seth) and Liv Nathalia and Noah Leo (Ethan and Susie).

When you talk about a hands on dad and grandpa, you're talking about Gabe. He was an inspirational teacher, a wonderful storyteller, a swinging musician, a stellar artist and an unforgettable friend. Please sign the guest book at

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09/28/14 05:39 PM #1    

Bruce Edwards (1967)

Had some very fine teachers at WHS, but none compared with Gabe. A wonderful man who opened our eyes to so many things. Proud to have had Gabe as a teacher, mentor and friend. Bruce Edwards ('67)

09/29/14 08:04 AM #2    

Ed Taylor (1972)

Here's a letter that one of Mr. Kreiswirth's students sent to his son after Gabe's passing. 

I first met Gabe Kreiswirth when I was 14 years old.  I was a freshman at West High and he was going to be my journalism teacher. Right out of the gate, I knew I liked this guy and I knew I would love the class. I came home from school that first day and just raved on and on to my Mother about this super cool new teacher that I had just met… Mr Kreiswirth.

As the year went on, Mr Kreiswirth seemed to take a genuine interest in my work, He did that with a lot of people I am sure, but I really dug the praise and the guidance. We talked after class a lot and were almost friends. I certainly liked  having his approval on anything. By the time the second year rolled around, Mr Kreiswirth, let me become one of the editors on the school paper and after one or two editions of The Smoke Signals came out, he actually let me and my friend  *** ***have our very own page. Mostly  funny  and edgy stuff. Stuff no other teacher except this visionary teacher would allow

In all of my years of school, I was always an honor student and very involved in sports and activities and though I always thought  a little left of center, I was really a good and cooperative  student

Right before the beginning of my third year in school, my father became very ill. He had developed liver cancer.  There really was no hope for him except for a risky liver transplant. These were very experimental in those days and no one had ever survived one. My father’s operation was going to be only the third one ever tried, in the USA. My Dad and Mom spent most of that year at UCLA medical center waiting for a transplant. My poor dad just looked and felt horrible

 Just being a teenager and not knowing how to deal with this, I decided not to tell a single person except for four or five of my closest  friends, what was going on in my life. Naturally my grades dipped , my performance on the sports teams changed and I became angry and sullen. Most of my teachers would argue with me, yell at me and mostly  just ignore my poor immature behavior.. Most teachers…. but not  Mr  Kreiswirth

One afternoon he had had enough wondering  of  what was going on and just took me to a private room that was on the side of our regular classroom. “OK  **.. What the hell is going on with you?” I gave in and told him . I made him  promise not to tell anyone in the faculty or any other students, even the ones in our class. He promised not to tell, then he  told me his secret. It seems that at a very young age, his Mother had died. He told me he knew how it felt. He even understood why I was secretive and confused and mad all of the time. My wonderful teacher Gabe, took me to that side room almost every day. If it wasn’t during class he had me stay over and talk. We listened to music and he let me just air things out. No one knew our secret.

Eventually my father passed away. I told Mr Kreisweith and only Mr Kreiswirth, not any other teacher. He listened to me all the time.  After a few moths I still was not handling things well. My doctor had me loaded on pills , my face was all broken out with  pimples and rashes and I was  as mad as hell

I went to Mr Kriewirth and just asked.. “What in the hell is wrong with me?” Why can I not handle this like a regular person.  I am not weak”

He explained something to me that I never forgot. . he said “**.. what I think happened is .. you came from a nice normal family, with a nice normal life.. happy kids, happy parents. Sometimes when tragedies hit people like that they are just not prepared and sort of fall apart. I promise, you, you are normal.. you are not a freak and you will be all right” I trusted his  judgment  and never forgot that bit of wisdom

I have told this story to my Mother, my two sisters, my wife and all three of our children. I have told the story of this teacher  who took the extra time to not only talk me through a very difficult time but to also make sense of what was going on in my head .

Gabe Kreiswrth cared about me. I loved him for it. I love him to this day for it and always will. After school, we remained friends. We played music together and visited museums and art shows. This kind,talented ,perceptive man made such a difference in my life

God bless Gabe Krieswirth I hope to see you in heaven some day.. 

09/29/14 01:41 PM #3    

Bob Kennedy (1981)

Mr. Kreiswirth, (as I had addressed him as a student) was such a powerful influence on my life;

his Art class a joy to attend, a wonderful, creative, learning experience. Mr. Kreiswirth allowed me the

freedom to indulge in one of my favorite hobbies, building models of roller coasters. I spent most of a semester building a giant roller coaster model, that stretched over the long table in Art class. A functioning coaster model that i took great pride in, and aroused much interest from my fellow classmates, as well as throughout the whole school! The model was featured in the Sunday edition Daily Breeze with a color pic, and a 5 minute spot on the NBC affiliate Channel 4 news. (circa 1982)

I consider Mr. Kreiswirth, along with my Forensics teacher Mr. Pickard, as my favorite teachers of all.  Such an inspiration, if only we could turn back to clock, if only for a day, to those special times.

Rest in Peace my friend.

Bob Kennedy


09/30/14 07:35 PM #4    

Stephanie Ruggiero (Miller) (1988)

Mr. Kreiswirth will be missed.. I had him as my art teacher  for 4 years. He was an inspiration. Mr. K. was genually interested in every student he had come in contact with. He kept in touch with me even after I graduated for a few years.

Stephanie Ruggiero-Miller  88'

09/13/15 08:57 AM #5    

Richard Humphrey (1978)

One thing I remember about Gabe...while we were drawing if he liked your work,he would grab your drawing board and say"Gimmie that before you botch it!"then he would share it with the class...he would let us play one record,Steeley Dan....I took his life drawing class at West high as well as Elcamino what a great teacher!! I will miss him...Richard Humphrey class of 78

02/28/21 11:46 AM #6    

Mary Mallari (2001)

Mr. K was my favorite teacher of all my time in attendance in any school. In 11th grade he pulled me aside after class and told me I had a gift. He told me not to tell the other students that he was going to start assigning me advance work. My condolences to his family.

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