It is with heavy hearts that the family of Gayle Smith, age 59, shares that she passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, February 26, 2023 in Davidson, North Carolina. She had recently relocated to North Carolina to spend more time with her older daughter and grandsons and to enjoy some nicer weather. Prior to this, Gayle was a resident of Plymouth, Indiana most of her life.
Gayle was born on November 17, 1963 in Howell, Michigan to Don A. “Buck” Whitaker and Lillian Lee (Harper) Whitaker. Gayle moved to Plymouth, Indiana as a young child and attended Plymouth Community Schools. She was an avid softball player in her youth.
Gayle married Joseph “Nick” Warner on September 28, 1979 and together they had one daughter, Andrea. Gayle married Phillip Smith on January 27, 1989 and were together until his death in 2009. They had two children, Elizabeth and Sean. Together they enjoyed bowling, softball, and traveling for their children’s sporting events.
Gayle was a hard worker all her life and at times was known as a “workaholic.” The bulk of her career was in insurance, and she was very knowledgeable in her field, which brought her a great deal of pride in her work and for serving her community. She enjoyed bowling and playing Boggle with a special group of ladies. Her favorite times were spent watching her children, Elizabeth and Sean, play sports, especially basketball. Her grandchildren, Austin Parker, Alex Parker, and Hudson Wood were her greatest source of pride. She would never admit to being a dog person but that is who she came to be over the last several years. Her favorite companion was Dakota “Kota”, a mini Pomeranian, which she tragically lost late in 2022 at the age of 15. She had recently adopted a yorkie named Murphy Bean. Gayle always had a sweet tooth and would never say no to a yummy dessert. She also loved sunshine, being outdoors, and working with tools and electronics.
Gayle was also known for the empathy, love, and support she gave to her family and friends. She was a caretaker for many in their final days, a difficult task for anyone. Gayle cared for her husband, Phil during his battle with ALS. She cared for her companion, Tom Williams when he passed away in 2017. She also cared for her friend, Cindy Procter of Plymouth, Indiana until her death in 2022.
Gayle was preceded in death by her parents, her in-laws, Bill and Kay Smith, her brother, Kirby L. Whitaker and brothers-in-law, Robert Spicer and Robin Smith. Surviving are her other four siblings, Bruce Whitaker and Linda of Fullerton, CA, Shelley (Whitaker) and Rick Shafer of Argos, Mark Whitaker of Indianapolis, and Anita (Whitaker) Spicer of Argos. She is also survived by her children, Andrea (Warner) and Bayan Reed of Davidson, NC; Elizabeth Smith (boyfriend John Reed) of Spencerville, and Sean Smith (long-time girlfriend Lacey Suess) of Plymouth as well as her three grandsons, Austin, Alex, and Hudson. She leaves behind many nieces and nephews, cousins, and special friends whom she loved so dearly.
To honor Gayle’s wishes, no formal funeral will be held. Instead, a Celebration of Life will be held on Thursday, March 9, 2023 from 2-4 p.m. at the American Legion Post #27 in Plymouth. Family and friends are invited to come share a meal, memories, or time with her family. There will be no formal speaker, service, or program. Burial will be at New Oak Hill Cemetery, next to her late husband, Phillip.
Memorial contributions may be made in her name to The ALS Association – Indiana Chapter 9449 Priority Way West Drive, Suite 130, Indianapolis, Indiana 46240 in hopes to find a cure.
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