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Gayle Grace Gillespie (nee Christopher), passed away in Pawleys Island, SC on Sunday, May 1, 2022. Born in Youngstown, OH on November 18, 1937, the second daughter of the late John A. and Grace Rochford Christopher, Gayle attended St. Edward grade and junior high schools and was graduated from Ursuline High School in 1955. She completed the diploma program at the St. Elizabeth Hospital School of Nursing, becoming a Registered Nurse in 1958.
Gayle married her Ursuline classmate, U.S. Army Lieutenant John J. (Buck) Gillespie, on September 26, 1959. The couple lived at Fort Jay on Governors Island, NY, and at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn, NY while John completed his military service. Gayle worked in maternity nursing at New Rochelle Hospital in Westchester County, NY and at Victory Memorial Hospital, Brooklyn, during that time. Their daughter Maureen was born at the Army hospital on Governors Island in 1960.
Gayle and Buck returned to Youngstown in 1961, where they raised their five children. Throughout the 1960s and ‘70s, Gayle continued to work part-time as a nurse, first at St. Elizabeth Hospital and later at the Florence Crittenton Home, Windsor Nursing Home, and finally in the private duty setting. Most of her energies, however, were directed toward her role as a loving mother to Maureen, Grace, Sheila, John, and Caroline. She was calm, patient, and always fair, making sure that vitamins were given out in the morning (to the children next door as well) and lessons of each child’s choosing were attended and practiced after school. She was a familiar presence at St. Edward’s School during those years, and her Catholic faith was a source of strength and comfort always.
In the 1980s, having retired from nursing, Gayle developed an interest in residential real estate, and successfully pursued her REALTOR certification. Receiving the Youngstown Area Board of Realtors "REALTOR of the Year" award multiple times over her 20-year career, Gayle was a key contributor at Northern Hills Real Estate, and later The David B. Roberts Company. Gayle found great pride in working with countless Mahoning Valley families during that time, earning the respect and trust of her clients and colleagues, making many dear friends along the way.
Gayle was beautiful inside and out. Her passions included living room yoga in the ‘70s (in which her children refused to participate); listening and dancing to her favorite music (including Elvis Presley, The Ink Spots, Linda Ronstadt, Willie Nelson, and Billy Joel); volunteering for Birthright; feeding dinner to nursing home residents she brought home from work; and occasional boating attempts with her husband and children. She was a founding member of The Daisy Dozen Garden Club, which included many of her dearest friends. Gayle and Buck traveled on numerous occasions, visiting their lifelong friend Joyce Doyle at her Long Island beach cottage every summer as a family and taking trips to Pawleys Island, England, and Ireland to spend time with their children and grandchildren.
Buck was at Gayle’s side and held her close as she took her last breath. In addition to her beloved, she leaves four of her children: Maureen Arneman (Dana) of Pawleys Island; Grace Wagner James (Carl) of Cleveland, OH; Sheila Shorr of Santa Barbara, CA; and Caroline Morse of Shaker Heights, OH. Her only son, John, passed away in 2020.
She is also survived by 11 grandchildren, who treasured the time they spent with their GiGi: Tom Arneman (Molly) and Anne Arneman; Charlotte Wagner; Grace Shorr, Jake Shorr, and Atticus Shorr; Colin Williamson; Jack Gillespie and Christopher Gillespie; and Patrick Morse and Joseph Morse.
Coming from a family of nine children, Gayle leaves five siblings, all with whom she was very close: Mary Edith Fawcett (Mike); Bill Christopher (Jan); Carol Garda (John); Greg Christopher; and Chuck Christopher (Margaret); as well as 30-some nieces and nephews who treated her like a queen. She was predeceased by her sister, Joan Christopher Linam; and her brothers, John (Mose) Christopher and Glenn W. Christopher II.
She also leaves loving sisters-in-law Kathleen Gillespie Morley, Mary Ann Gillespie Rezek, Kathleen Christopher Wolsonovich, and Eve Christopher; and brother-in-law Dennis Gillespie.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated for Gayle on Monday, May 16, 2022 at 12 noon at St. Edward’s Church. The family will receive friends in the church from 10:00 a.m. to noon prior to the Mass. The church is located at 238 Tod Lane, Youngstown, OH 44504. Inurnment will follow at Calvary Cemetery, Youngstown.
In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Beatitude House, 238 Tod Lane, Youngstown, OH 44504; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arrangements by the McCauley Funeral Home privileged to serve the valley for more than 120 Years! Thoughts and condolences can be sent to the funeral home website www.mccauleyfuneral.com.