Gainesville - Rae Marie Gilbert passed away Saturday December 15, 2012 at home with her family after a courageous battle with cancer. Rae Marie's joy was her family, who loved her dearly. One of her greatest pleasures was enjoying natural areas with her family and friends, and she was an avid swimmer for many years.

Rae Marie was a well known Tai Chi and exercise instructor for over 10 years in Gainesville, who especially loved teaching seniors. She touched many with her welcoming, skillful and gentle teaching style while building a supportive community among participants.

In the spring of 1986, while living in Rhode Island, Rae Marie tirelessly worked to successfully save a majestic oak tree, a unique natural asset in her neighborhood.

As Chairperson of the Hill and Harbor District Commission in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, she was instrumental in assisting with the development of the town's curbside recycling program. As Chairperson of the Recycling and Litter Control Committee, she was influential in the town being selected as the first community in Rhode Island to participate in the statewide recycling program. She also worked to re-establish the public rights-of-way to Greenwich Cove. In other efforts to protect the environment in Rhode Island, Rae Marie successfully worked with other activists to prevent the construction of a mass burn incinerator at Quonset Point.

More recently, Rae Marie was an activist for multi-modal transportation in Alachua County. She was also active in anti-war protests with her husband, Bill, and other peace activists - making three trips to Washington D.C.

Rae Marie was profoundly giving of herself to the environment, her local communities, her family, her friends, and all around her. Rae's Marie's love, compassion, and generosity of spirit will be deeply missed.

She was born on July 23, 1939 in Sisseton, South Dakota and grew up in Excelsior Springs, Missouri. She moved to Florida in 1993 after living in Chicago and Rhode Island. Rae Marie is survived by her loving husband of 51 years, Bill Gilbert, son John Gilbert, daughter Leah Gilbert (Anita-Cristina Calcaterra), sister Barbara Taylor and dear cousins, nephews, and nieces.

No service is planned as per Rae Marie's request. To continue her activism, in lieu of sending flowers, please make donations to the Gainesville Home Van, an outreach mission which delivers food, clothing, friendship and other necessities of life to homeless people in Gainesville. Your financial donations to the Home Van should be in the form of checks made out to Citizens for Social Justice, Inc., earmarked for the Home Van, and mailed to 307 SE 6th Street, Gainesville, FL 32601 or made online at http://homevan.blogspot.com

Published in Gainesville Sun from Dec. 20 to Dec. 21, 2012