From her sister, Mary:
I always knew she’d be great in some way. I always admired her and loved her, and yes, I was even a little envious too, because it seemed as though life came so easily for her. She was a very personable, charismatic person. Even in high school, she accomplished so much. She joined almost every extracurricular group there was, and had excelled at it. Gail was an excellent leader, with a positive attitude, and was someone who would help you out if you needed it. As an eldest sibling, she taught her brother and sister how to share. She was always sending me gifts…
However, she was also very private, so I felt as though I may have missed out. I had always tried to imitate her ways, and I really looked up to her. I ended up being funny, though, which was good. My sister was always there when I needed her, she lent a shoulder to cry on. She was an excellent listener.
We had gotten very close this last year, and now I can see how hard it is- to know that she really is gone. Without us being so very close, I can feel a loss. At the end, her time was up, and I felt as though I could have prayed harder.
“We happily put her on that cloud and she went floating up to that rainbow to the Lord. Around 2pm, I saw her floating through the clouds, she was signifying to me that she was on her way. At 4pm, she passed into heaven. I thought it was a special message from her in the end.”
From her niece, Kara:
My Aunt Gail was a friend, a teacher, and a confidante. She was a mother, wife, sister, and grandma as well. I could not imagine raising four boys, while serving and going to school… A huge life accomplishment. I often believe a mother’s job is the toughest, a job which does not heed enough acclaim in society…
Ever since I can remember, Aunt Gail has been sending me knick-knacks, letters, and checking in with me. She was my artsy aunt who could paint, craft, quilt, make jewelry, and anything else- you name it- she could do it. She had the most creative energy. Every time I would go to my Nonna Peggy’s, I would see the various masterpieces made by my aunt, and it always inspired me to create my own.
I moved to Southern Oregon about five years ago. I found upon arriving, that my aunt and uncle were (of course) avid Shakespeare Festival goers, which is a highly popular event in this area. We had gotten to visit some really nice wineries and other spots over the years. We went on some great hikes. My Aunt Gail was able to attend my daughter’s dance recitals. She taught Sierra how to sew. Moving to rural Oregon was a blessing in disguise, as I was able to spend some good quality time with her and the family.
As an educator, she was a huge role model to me. Even after retirement, she still put time in, changing children’s lives. Two years ago, my Aunt Gail inspired me to take on a Master of Education program. As I finish my final capstone this week, I know she would be proud.
In my adult life, she became a voice of reason where I did not have one before. She gave me clarity about my own heritage, and was a pillar of wisdom. I did not have many female role models in my life, and I had always looked up to her. She will be missed, it was too soon, and I wish I could ask her what heaven looks like…I would bet she would describe it beautifully…I will continue to work for the greater good and to eliminate inequality in education in her memory.