MANCHESTER >> Gayle Lee Gall, 88, of Manchester Village, passed away peacefully on June 15, 2016 after a short stay at Equinox Terrace in Manchester Center.
Born in Bedford, N.Y. on Nov. 27, 1927 to Louise Day Putnam Lee and Ronald Currie Lee, Gayle lived as a child in Bedford, Gramercy Park, New York City and Taxco, Mexico. Summers were spent in Blue Hill, Maine.
After graduating from Oldfields School ('45) and Smith College ('49) Gayle lived in Paris and visited Europe's major cultural centers. She studied oil painting in Paris with Andre l'Hote. Lured by the Alps, she spent the winter of 1950 skiing in Zermatt, Switzerland.
Upon returning to the United States Gayle "ski bummed" for the next few winters in Aspen, Colo. There she met her future husband, James W. Gall of Barre, Vt,, in the lift line. They were married Jan. 30, 1954 at St. Matthew's Church in Bedford, N.Y,, honeymooned in Dorset, and skied at Bromley. Their marriage ended in divorce.
The couple settled in Manchester. Gayle purchased the weekly newspaper, the Manchester Journal and the Manchester Printing Co. in 1968, which she and her husband ran together until Gayle assumed full responsibility in 1975. Under her ownership the paper transitioned from a broadsheet that was set in hot lead type and printed in-house on a massive flatbed cylinder press to an easier-to-read tabloid size that used the then-modern photocomposition and was printed offset. The news coverage was expanded and the masthead redesigned. The editors and reporters who worked for Gayle will remember her insistence on the accuracy of their stories and their precise use of vocabulary and grammar. She sold the businesses to the Bennington Banner in 1978 and continued to manage the paper until her retirement in the late 1980s.
As a result of Gayle's news reporting on local matters she developed a lifelong interest and commitment to her community. Education was important to Gayle and she sat on the Manchester Elementary School Board between 1974 and 1985 long after her own children had graduated. She was on the Manchester Village Design Review Board for 41 years. Only in later years, when she was less mobile, did she ever miss a Town Meeting.
Gayle gave back to the skiing community by storing and distributing ski equipment from her barn to local school children in the Bromley Outing Club's Junior Instructional Ski Program (JISP), a program for which she also taught. For decades she was an institution in the BOC's race finish shack as the Chief of Timing.
Gayle had a lifelong love of gardening, and earned a Certification in Landscape Design from the New York Botanical Gardens. She was an active member of the Bedford Garden Club, the Garden Club of Manchester and the Federated Garden Club of Vermont. Her gifts of perennial divisions from her garden to fellow gardeners, the treasure hunts she devised challenging the participants to identify plants by their Latin names and the flower arranging gatherings she hosted at Equinox Terrace will not be forgotten. Gayle was editor of The Leaf, the newsletter of the Federated Garden Club of Vermont and Publicity Chairman for the Garden Club of Manchester for many years.
Once retired Gayle resumed watercolor painting. She was a long time member-artist and docent at the Southern Vermont Art Center. Her work was shown in local galleries and she was involved in the founding of The Vermont Watercolor Society. She participated in workshops in the Adirondacks and abroad.
Later in life Gayle was devoted to the game of bridge, and was a stickler for the rules. She was a gourmet cook and gracious hostess, a well read and informed conversationalist, a lover of Standard Poodles and The New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle.
She is survived by her eldest daughter Penelope "Poppy" Gall and her husband Michael Cotroneo of Morristown, Vt,, daughter Barclay Gall Hook and her husband E.J. Hook and their daughters Taylor and Lindsten Hook of Bozeman, Mont., her older brother D. Day Lee of Santa Fe, N.M. and Keene Valley, N.Y., many nieces and nephews and their children, and her constant canine companion, Sheba.
A memorial service for Gayle will be held on Saturday June 25, at the Southern Vermont Arts Center in Manchester at 3:30 p.m.
Contributions in Gayle's name may be made to Manchester Health Services P.O. Box 1224 Manchester Center, VT 05255 or the Southern Vermont Arts Center P.O. Box 617 Manchester, VT 05254.