Gayle Brass-Smith, 63, passed away in her home on Jan. 6, 2019, after a courageous battle with cancer. She was born on May 18, 1955, to Charles and Francis McClary in Snohomish, Washington. She grew up in Spokane, and spent summers at her family’s cabin on Priest Lake, which started a lifelong love with the lake and community there. In 1971 she met and married Thomas Brass, and together they had two children, Leora and Mathew.
In 1979, she and her family moved to Priest Lake to pursue her long-held dream to live at the place which gave her so many childhood memories. While raising her children, she also worked at Priest Lake Elementary and coached girls basketball and track & field when the schools were still K-8. In 1985, she and Tom divorced, and Gayle moved back to Spokane with her kids to attend beauty school. They were only there for a year, and when she finished they moved to Priest River where she would eventually open her own beauty salon, The Hair Com-pany. She ran the shop for over a decade before selling it. After that she worked at Taylor Parker Motors for years, before spending the last decade working for Edward Jones as the brand office administrator for the Priest River office.
Upon moving to Priest River, she finally found the home she had been looking for, and lived there until the day she passed away. When she and her family moved in, the house and property needed a lot of work, but over the next 30 years it was transformed into an amazing farm and home. It became the home base for family and events, and as children multiplied into grandchildren, it became more and more special to her and her family. And that is because family meant everything to her, she was fiercely loving and would do anything for them. All of her grandkids will remember Christmas and birthdays with Grammy Gayle, as she spoiled them and always made holidays incredibly special.
In 1997, she met her future husband Paul Smith while getting her truck fixed. They began dating and it would eventually lead to 21 loving years together. They shared a common love of remodeling, gardening, boating at Priest Lake, and their faith. They also loved spending time with their huge blended family. Over the past 15 months, Paul was by her side every day as she fought her illness with grace and poise, and he was holding her hand as she passed from this life to the next.
What her family and friends will remember more than just dates are her strengths and gifts she shared over the years. She was at her best when things were difficult. She was fiercely independent, and believed that each person is responsible for their own success. She had a work ethic mixed with drive and faith to work through any problem with her eyes set firmly on a goal. She was driven to be the best at whatever she tried, possessing the burning determination to put in the work, no matter how difficult. She set this example for her family time and again. She was also incredibly generous, lending a hand when someone needed help, a hug when they needed comfort, and thoroughly enjoyed giving gifts to those she cared about. She was all this and much more, and words cannot express how deeply she will be missed.
Gayle was preceded in death by her parents; and is survived by her husband, Paul Smith; stepmother Lois Conner; children Leora Hand (husband Jamie) and Mathew (wife Angie); stepchildren Jayson Smith, Lyla Groom (husband Brian), Justin Smith (wife Amy), and Jared Smith; and grandchildren Jenessa Hand, Tevin Perry, Saydee Brass, Niah Brass, Mason Groom, Ella Groom, Quinn Smith, Ivy Smith, and Jameson Smith.
A service to celebrate her life will be held Saturday, Jan. 12, at 2 p.m. at the Edgemere Seventh-day Adventist Church on 5161 Vay Road, Priest River, Idaho.
In lieu of flowers, the family would prefer that a donation be made in Memory to Gayle to the Cancer Research Institute (cancerresearch.org).
Sherman-Campbell Funeral and Cremation Services in Priest River is in charge of arrangements. Family and friends are invited to sign the online guest book at shermancampbell.com.