Gayleen Ellen Smith was born 10/26/1950 at Trinity Hospital in Arcata and remained a lifelong resident of Humboldt County, passing from this life in her home and cared for by loving hands on April 24, 2013. This wonderful woman, wife, mother, friend, daughter and niece has finally set aside her 18 month battle against cancer which she handled with strength, grace and humor. She is survived by her husband of 42 years, John "Bunga" Smith about whom she would smile and say; "I married the love of my life." John says that he married the love of his life as well, being that she was the only woman he ever dated strong enough to push-start his precious 1932 Ford Coupe. Laughter and tears. Gayleen is also survived by sons WOC3 Jess (Angel) Smith of Fairbanks, AK, Jason (Lisa) Smith of Carpenteria, CA, nephewson SFC Dean (Brandi) Smith of Germany, grandchildren Michael Wagy-Smith, Gloria Smith, and Derek and Allison Smith, Mother Lisle (Jim) Holt of Arcata, Uncles and Aunts Jess (Maxine) Hill of McKinleyville and Dave (Joy) Collard of Ft. Bragg. Gayleen was preceded in death by her father Gary Collard, grandparents Milton (Stella) Hill and Frank (Lillian) Collard and an unborn infant child.
"A faithful friend is a strong defense; and he that hath found one hath found a treasure- Ecc 6:14." Left in sorrow but also in the joy of her memory; lifelong friends, true to the heart: Jody and Lee Rusconi, Jay Jones and Sue Bailey, Lynn Navarro and George Spinas.
Gayleen was a faithful member of Gospel Lighthouse Pentecostal Church of God in Arcata for over 30 years and a 25 year member of the Arcata Chapter O.E.S.. Gayleen was highly involved as well with Redwood Acres Quilt Guild and her mini quilt-group 'Sewpreems' who will all miss her so much. Her recent employment has been with HSU, starting at Plant Operations in 2000. She then moved to the Forestry and Wildland Resources Department where she was immediately dubbed 'Forestry Mom', loving and loved by students, faculty and staff alike. She drew much strength from all of them, remaining at her desk throughout her illness.
Gayleen did everything with deep enjoyment; quilting (she won international wearable art competitions with jackets made for Auntie Max), gardening, cooking and entertaining, road trips with John (crossing the USA in the summer of 2011; "It's only this far on the map!"), trips to Hawaii, camping with friends and family and simply enjoying every moment possible. She was never too busy to lend an ear to a troubled heart or lend a hand peeling potatoes.
A special thanks to friend Norma Baskette for making Gayleen's final days ones of peace and comfort. Warm affection as well to good friends Lorraine, Gary and Alice, Crista and Pascal, Russ, Sheila, Joyce, Susie, Cheryl, Krista, Yvonne, Kimmy, Delores, Allen, Pam, Darrel and Sheri, John, Tom and Bonnie, Mary, Lisa, Dave, Mark, Bob, Randy, Tim, Craig, Carlos, Sylvia, Bill and Donna, Sandra, Marianne, Belinda (cinnamon rolls!), Roberta (aka 'Pink'), Pastor Louis and Sister Donna Yeley; the list goes on and on, and on. Special thanks from Gayleen and her family and friends go to Hospice of Humboldt, Dr. Spencer, Dr. Peggy Grossman, Dr. Ridz, Dr. Andreadus and the staff at UCSF and all of the wonderful, kind staff at EIM Infusion.
At her request, interment will be private; there will be a joyful celebration of the life of Gayleen Ellen Smith on the 22nd of June, location to be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, Gayleen asked that donations be sent to a charity of your choice.
Please share a kindness with a stranger in the memory of this dear, wonderful woman.