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In Memory of Gayle Wall Thawley

APRIL 17, 1948 - JUNE 13, 2021

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Gayle Ann Wall was born in Chicago, Illinois to Jack Wall Sr. and Helene Higgins Wall. 

Gayle graduated high school in 1966 from St. Mary’s Academy in Alexandria, Virginia. She went on to continue her studies at Jacksonville University and graduated in 1970 with a BA in sociology. Gayle continued her education at Jacksonville and graduated summa cum laude with a Master’s Degree in Education. 

She got her first teaching job with Duval County Florida where she found that this interaction with children was her calling and her true passion. Gayle moved back to Fairfax County, Virginia and then became employed by the school system there and ended a fulfilling and enjoyable 30-year career after the 2003 school year. She was named “teacher of the year” once and nominated another. She was chairperson of the math department for 20 years. Gayle however, had her best years yet to come in retirement when she and husband Patrick moved to Marco Island, Florida. She said she wanted to write and she did. Gayle won four different awards in the ensuing few years, most notably the Florida State AAUW contest winner for her story “A Confederate in the Cemetery”. She also has two copyright works entitled “Mastering Middle Schoolers” an educator’s guide to winning the hearts and minds of middle school students, and “An Island in the Mind” Grandoor and Grenoble’s Adventures in the Land Betwixt. 

Gayle also was involved in many Island organizations including AAUW, CCW, Women’s Club, Just Friends, Phi Delta Kappa, and Newcomers, where she served as President. Not content to stop there, she served on the Board of Directors for Royal Seafarer Condominiums, Friends of the Library, Marco Players, Marco Island Historical Society, and Marco Island Academy, which she helped establish. Another passion was fulfilled as she led the Kiwanis “Reading is Fundamental” program at Manatee Elementary School. Her interaction with those kids was a sight to behold, as any Kiwanian who worked with her there would tell you. Her actions earned her Kiwanian of the Year in 2012 and her work with Jane Watt and the Marco Island Academy helped earn her the Spirit of Marco award in 2017. Her latest passion was tracing her ancestry which including acceptance and membership in The Jamestown Society and the Daughters of the American Revolution.

A most inspiring moment occurred when on a return trip to Fairfax Virginia, seated in a restaurant, the server came to the table for a drink order and asked, “Are you Mrs. Thawley?” To which Gayle replied “yes, and you look familiar”. He related that he was in his senior year of college and would never forget her. As he teared up, he said “I am a better person today and you changed my life.” The fact is she changed many lives by her dedication to and love of children.

Gayle is survived by her loving husband, Patrick Thawley, daughter McKinsey Elliott (Frank), brother Jack Wall Jr. (Judy), step children Tony Stewart, Tina Stewart, and Zachary Thawley, grandchildren Abigayle, Colby, Kaydee, CJ, and Cameron, nephew John Wall, nieces Julia Wall, Jaime Cockey, and Jenna McElroy, sisters in law Kathy Shaffer, and Mikki Carper. 

She was preceded in death by her parents, Jack and Helene Wall. 

A memorial service will be held at a later date.

Memorial donations may be sent to American Cancer Society


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Gayle was such an amazing person. This world lost a woman who cared so deeply about children and their educations. We were blessed to see Gayle and Pat last year for a quick visit after so many years since retirement and moving from Virginia. Our prayers for Pat and the family. Gayle, you will be missed. Love Bob and Val

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