Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The Loss of a Close Friend and Colleague

Top- Penny, Candy, Laurell, Susan, Molly Bottom-Julie, Gail
Romancing the Home Team in 2006

Sometimes one meets a person who changes your life. Gail did that for me and many others. It is with great sadness in our hearts that she has left us for a better place. Gail worked with us at Romancing the Home ( her first and only job- what can I say- she loved to shop!) and became the center of our friendship. When she surprised us with buying a new home several years ago, we became intimately involved with the process. Her parties for the 4th of July and Christmas were a must go to! But it was her generous spirit that captured our hearts. The most giving person that I have ever met, she took care of her family and friends. Here's a few things that I learned or valued from Gail's friendship-
1. Take care of your family and friends.
2. Teach your children to be polite and respectful of others. ( Her four children are exemplary in this regard- so polite and kind.)
2. Don't take yourself too seriously- laugh at your own flaws.
3. Enjoy your grandchildren and indulge them when you can.
4. Enjoy your home and be spontaneous with its design! (She was the master of moving things around, especially at night. We called her the Midnight Decorator !)
5. Design is a study of contrasts - one texture or one color is just not exciting.(She loved bold color and large print fabrics - animal prints were a favorite! And while she said her style wasn't Asian influenced, I certainly learned to appreciate her global style!)
6. Entertain spontaneously with your friends - invite them over for nothing special! We spent many hours around her kitchen table or on the back patio solving the world's and our problems.
7. The best appetizers are salted peanuts and Gail's Famous Tuna Dip with Fritos- always the first appetizer to go at a party! ( Liverwurst was a close third according to Gail!)
8. Create your own personal style and don't be worried about current fashion styles. ( Gail's style of dressing was whimsical, fun and artistic- it always inspired me)
9. Humility is an important virtue. Practice it!
10. Good friends are one of life's greatest treasures - keep them close to you and take care of them. ( Gail's gatherings at her home were often large parties for engagements, weddings and holidays. All friends were invited, so people got to meet each other and establish friendships that might otherwise have never happened. She connected people together.)

Gail, you will be forever in our hearts. You have changed our lives in positive ways. We love you.
I couldn't go on blogging about anything else until I wrote these special thoughts down. We all seem to be stuck . On Monday, all the RTH girls gathered at the store and cried and shared our thoughts about Gail. That's what Gail valued- friends support each other.
Romancing the Home will be closed on Friday, March 16th for her memorial service, a celebration of her life.
Please feel free to leave a comment!


savvycityfarmer said...

I feel like somehow I know Gail ... thru your eyes of course!

I am truly sorry for your loss, Susan

thanks for your words of wisdom

Emily said...

What a lovely tribute Susan! I am sorry that you all had to say goodbye to a such a good friend too early. I wish I had known when I stopped in makes my indecision about a chandelier seem so trivial! I guess the only way we make sense out of the senseless is to make every day more meaningful with those we love around us!!

christine said...

If, in your lifetime, you are fortunate to meet a true friend, you are very blessed. That friend, for me, was Gail. We all go through life with different people by our side. But some people distinguish themselves. They come through in flying colors when you need them. There is something magical about the bonds of a deep friendship. Gail was magical, funny, inspiring, lovely in every way and a true gem. Gail was my blessing and I was so very lucky to have her as my best friend. I will forever miss her. Christy Mahru

JOAN LEWIS said...

Gail was the most generous, kind woman i know. Rik and I will never forget when she opened her home and surroundings to us to celebrate our special wedding day with all of our friends and family. She even asked what colors we were using so she could incorporate them into the new landscaping, just for our wedding. There is such a big hole in our heart today but we know you are our newest angel in heaven looking down at us sipping your rum and diet coke. Be at peace, my friend. With much love, Joan and Rik

Deena said...

I am so sorry to hear this...she was a very nice woman that seemed to truly care about her friends and family.

Lynda Sue said...

Gail was planning to come to Atlanta this past weekend and was really looking forward to a get away of shopping and antiquing. I think I was just as excited as she was. I hadn't seen her since last July when she surprised me in New Orleans for my birthday. That made the trip for me. She made such an effort to share in my big celebration. I'll never forget all of us in my room our last night watching the final night of the Bachelor and Gail had ordered a "few" appetizers to my room. There was enough food to feed a small country. We had a great time and never laughed so hard. She much preferred a gathering at home with friends and family to going out. We have been long distance friends for many years but she always made me feel like I had known her forever when we did get together. She always made me laugh and I miss her already and always. She walked her own path not caring so much what others thought...and I really admired her for that. I know you are at peace.

Lynda Sue
Atlanta GA

Anonymous said...

Gail is one of the most special people we have ever met. She opened her home to our family when we moved from Colorado, and she created the most beautiful parties to celebrate our wedding and first son. But with all that she did for us, it was her spirit and kindness that touched us the most. I wish I had the words to express just how much she meant to me and Chris and how much we will miss her and always love her. Thank you, Susan, for giving us the opportunity to honor Gail. She was a truly beautiful person in every way.

Jessie and Chris Banner

Pam said...

This is truly the end of an era--- the Gail Era! Life will certainly go on, but never be the same. I'm thankful for all of the memories we made together, watching our children grow. The stories of the Smiths and the Rices on Saddle Run will become folklore in days to come!
Pam, Steve & Santa

Katha said...

After reading all the comments it's so easy to see why we all thought of Gail as a special person. She was so generous to me when I first joined the Romancing the Home team and included me as if I'd been around forever. I always appreciated that. Gail was giving and funny and did you all know she never liked to make a left hand turn. I learned that once when I was giving her driving directions. Gail leaves behind four wonderful children who are most definately a testament to who she was. I'm sure she is very proud.

Laurell Banner said...

Gail was and will always be my5th daughter. I was so truly shocked when she hosted my 90th birthday party. I have never been surprsed in my life until then. I will never forget her generosity and kindness to me and my daughter Laurell.
She will be truly missed and remembered always.
Lorraine Mannebach

Anonymous said...

I had the privilege of meeting Gail through Romancing The Home and spent many memorable days with her there and then becoming friends outside of work. I've been trying to remember the most memorable moment, but then realized that it was just the every day, simple things that were important to Gail and everyone who knew her. I will forever miss her beautiful smile.

Julie Andrea

Lesley said...

Laughing with Gail will always be a wonderful remembrance. She had a fabulous way of not taking herself too seriously that will continually keep me grounded. Her generosity will keep her in Paul's and my hearts when we look at the lovely planters she shared with us because they sent a double order. Double fun, double kindness, she will be doubly missed.

Marne Holstein said...

We all have huge holes in our hearts with the loss of Gail. After her children, and family, my first thoughts were for her special girlfriends. I know that there will be no greater tribute to her, than the friendship you all shared. Our hearts are heavy, but I think of her sassy smile, and her twinkling eyes, and know that she will be stirring things up in heaven. I hope they have a caterer as good as Michaels, or she will be raising Cain:)) God Bless you Gail, Rest in Peace.

kristin said...

I am once again going to attempt this...I have already not been able to ....there are no words possible to describe Gail...her love of life,her husband,her children..her friends...and all that she touched...I as my family were lucky enough to start out our young lives young parents,along with my brother and twin...feel a history...I feel so bereft and saddend by our loss,but heaven will be a brighter she waits for us,can you just picture the party when we get to join her??? Most lovingly...and with the utmost love and respect ...Kristin and Jack Welu

Anonymous said...

Gail was the most generous person in every way and the most humble. She made you feel special and did everything extra special from our get togethers to room service. Everything Gail did was a memory maker. We could write on book on Gail but the funny thing is she could probably write a book on all of us. Gail was someone you could trust and confide in. I'm sure she has plenty of stores. Gail did have a job...she took care of all of us, her family, friends and even people she didn't know. I find my self crying now and before you know it I'm crying and laughing thinking of the times with Gail. She always had a way of putting spark in life and a smile on your face even during the hard times. These are the saddest days and my heart is broken. As we all know Gail you know we cannot say enough. I do know that she was a blessing in my life and will forever be blessed from knowing her. I will so miss her so.
Love Always, Linda Lee

Donita said...

To know Gail was to love her. If you were lucky enough to come into her life as a friend, you never left. I will always smile when I think of her because that was the side she always showed to her friends. I think she was the most selfless and generous person I have ever known. She never wanted the attention on her and was always focused on her family and friends. I am a better person for having known her. She has left a great legacy.
We will always miss her,
Donita & Jeff and family

Laurell Banner said...

The classiest of ladies.
Wickedly funny and most entertaining.
Seemingly tough on the outside but full of love and kindness on the inside.
Loved by everyone who crossed her path in life as I am sure in heaven.
We cannot express how kind she has been to our family,our children and there children. Gail loved Family.
Known to our grandchildren as GeGe, they wept as we did, when we found out she has left us.
Her memory will always brings tear to our eyes and then laughter at the thought of our times together .
Good Night. Sweet Gail

Anonymous said...

Susan and all at RTH..I am so sorry that you have all lost a dear friend and someone so close to you all.

You wrote a beautiful tribute about your dear friend. I am thinking of you all.
Love, Mary Stonacek

Anonymous said...

Gail was a woman who had the power to touch everyone's heart no matter how close she was to them. Her very humble generosity and caring smile always made people feel welcome and a valuable part of her life. She raised some pretty awesome kids as well as adorable grandkids, who have learned only the most admirable attributes from Gail. She always found the humor and lighter side to things in life which showed many people to appreciate the small things and going with the flow isn't so bad. She had a million funny little quirks that made her unique, like refusing to turn left in an intersection. I always asked her how she got anywhere, she response was simply, "it takes a very long time, but it somehow always happens." That was one thing very true about Gail, she really always made things happen for people in need without every thinking twice. No one could every find a bad word to describe this wonderful woman and all she did for the people in her life, she is a true angel and will be greatly missed.
Julia Hawthorne

Anonymous said...

Someone once said that a true act of kindness or generosity are the ones a person does when nobody is looking. When I heard that I thought of Gail. Sweet( but not too sweet), humble, funny and missed. I miss her every day. Penny