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Obituary: Close, Gail

Wed., Jan. 9, 2013

CLOSE, Gail July 9th, 1925 - January 5th, 2013 Gail Close, beloved sister, aunt, wife, mother and grandmother passed away January 5th, 2013 after a few years of health challenges followed by a brief illness.

Born July 9th, 1925, in Tampa Florida, Gail was the youngest of Dudley and Elizabeth Gunn’s three daughters.

Gail attended many schools during her childhood as the family moved about following her Dad’s construction jobs.

The family eventually settled in Spokane where Gail graduated from Lewis & Clark High School in 1943.

Gail next attended Washington State University and was a member of the Pi Beta Phi Sorority.

She graduated with a degree in English and Education and set her sights on becoming a teacher.

Gail postponed her pursuit to teach in order to get married and start a family.

She finally realized her goal to teach and was hired by Spokane Public Schools and taught First Grade at Adams Elementary for 20 years until her retirement in 1985.

Gail’s focus on life and her greatest joy was her family.

While in college she was introduced to Pat Close by his sister, Eileen, who set them up on a blind date.

Pat and Gail started dating and eventually married on June 23, 1951.

They were married for 60 years until Pat’s death in 2011.

Together Gail and Pat raised five children and lived in the same house for 55 years.

They were totally devoted to the children and the support she provided for the active family was legendary.

In the fall it was not uncommon for Gail and Pat to attend four football games a week throughout the season to watch the boys play.

In addition to the games, there was the picking up from practice, and driving to film sessions and team meetings.

The balance of the year would see basketball games, wrestling matches, track meets, Carolyn’s activities, Boy and Girl Scout meetings, swim lessons and much more.

All the while Gail made sure there was always a complete breakfast on the table in the morning and dinner at night and that the family ate together.

The feat of providing a meal for a family this size while working full time was no easy task.

The neighbors used to remark that Gail did not cook in pots and pans but “vats” and wondered how she did it all.

Gail using two loaves of bread in a single Saturday breakfast of French toast was the norm.

Education was also strongly emphasized as one would come to expect from a teacher.

Gail was most proud of the fact that all of her five children went on to not only graduate from college but receive post-graduate degrees as well.

Gail and Pat rediscovered and reinvented themselves once the family had grown and moved out on their own.

While they still found the greatest joy during the times when the family still got together for all holidays, birthdays and reunions, they also enjoyed yearly trips to Hawaii allowing them to overlap time there with Pat’s brother Jack.

They also enjoyed taking their camper out for short trips.

Gail developed her passion in gardening and took great pride in her beautiful garden and picturesque back yard.

It was sitting in her house looking out at her yard that helped sustain her following the loss of Pat and during her own medical challenges.

While the complexion and personality of the Close family certainly can in part be attributed to the Irish influence from Pat, the true temperament and love for each other that made it all work was forged from the quiet strength Gail provided.

Her gentle ways and accepting manner belied the resiliency and inner strength she possessed.

Gail is preceded in death by her parents, husband, and sister Theo Egan.

She is survived by her five children: sons Dan (Debbie), John (Kathy), Bill (Raney), and Michael (Joan), and daughter Carolyn Hendrikson (Doug Smith).

She is also survived by grandchildren Mandy, Patrick and Kevin Close of Bozeman, Mt; Catherine, Christina and Daniel Close of Spokane; Kathleen and Molly Close of Simpsonville, SC; Heather Gitschier of Australia, and Eric and Alex Hendrikson of Spokane; her beloved sister Diana Boettcher of Menlo Park, CA and 26 nieces and nephews.

Gail’s family wishes to acknowledge the support she has been given in the past years starting with her own special care giving nurse, daughter Carolyn, and the many other care givers that helped and seemed like members of the family.

Gail was also very fortunate to have supportive next door neighbors that could be counted on to look after her and who became an extension of the family.

Memorials are suggested to the charity of your choice.

Visitation will be Friday, January 11 from 12-5pm with Vigil Rosary services beginning at 5pm all at the funeral home.

Funeral Mass will be Saturday, January 12 at 12noon and will be celebrated at St. Augustine Catholic Church, 428 W. 19th, Spokane.

A private committal will take place at a later date.

Please visit Gail’s tribute and leave a condolence at

Arrangements have been entrusted to:


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