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Passed away peacefully in the latter stages of Lou Gehrig's disease on December 2, 2012 surrounded by her two remaining sons and her loving husband of 53 years. Her remaining sons are Curt (wife Anne), Andy (wife Kelly) and four grandchildren (Meg, Will, Henry and Emily). Jim, her oldest, was lost to her just over a year ago. Gaye was born and raised in South Georgia. She met her husband, Bill when she was attending Valdosta State University obtaining a BS degree in Medical Technology and he was in Advanced Jet Fighter Pilot Training at nearby Moody AFB. He knew he had found 'his girl' when he saw her smiling radiantly from a parade float in the Fall of 1958. She was Homecoming Queen that year and was the most beautiful creature he had ever seen. They were married July 26, 1959 in the wonderful little church across the street from the house where she was reared in the tiny hamlet of Dupont Georgia. Gaye survived the cultural and family dislocation from her home in the South much better than she thought she would at the time. She followed, participated in and unselfishly supported the six year career of a USAF fighter pilot, then willingly moved to his home town, Iowa City, Iowa - about as far as one can get from the culture of the Deep South - where he joined the anonymous undergraduate pre-medical hopefuls at the University of Iowa. She went to work in her profession of Medical Technology, earned many honors and gained exceptional academic rank while morally and financially supporting her husband as he somehow prevailed over many other applicants and entered the Medical College. She continued to perform with acclaimed success and became a pioneer instructor of Electron Microscopy, teaching MDs, until her husband graduated, went to internship at St. Joe's in Phoenix and returned to the University of Iowa for Residency training. Subsequently she gained undergraduate degrees in Ceramics, Fine Art Photography under the most famous and demanding photographer in the Southwest and an academic degree in Interior Design. She incorporated a successful company (Signature Interiors) which thrived for many years. She has traveled the world relentlessly, formally attended the Cordon Bleu in Paris; then obtained a degree in Culinary Arts and has been a prominent figure in the burgeoning culinary community in Arizona. She is the author of The Webster's Dictionary of Culinary Arts (27,000 entries, seven languages, three editions), Tastes & Treasures for the Arizona Historical League and other similar works. She also became a University of Arizona accredited Master Gardener
Those are in addition to her many other accomplishments that this writer has fecklessly overlooked. Gaye has always been the epitome of beauty, taste and most of all; grace. She has been surrounded by an extended, branching cabal of devoted friends, advocates and associates who have supported her and whom she has supported. She had no enemies. There will be a memorial service at Messinger Indian School Mortuary, 7601 E. Indian School Rd. Friday December 7, 2012 at 2:00 pm. Contributions might be made in Gaye's name to
Published in The Arizona Republic on Dec. 5, 2012