SALEM — Gayle E. Blek, 74, passed away Feb. 8. She was a terrific friend to all. Gayle's funeral will be held Saturday, Feb. 29, at Queen of Peace Church. Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. preceded by the rosary 10:30 a.m. and musical prelude.

Gayle was born April 1, 1945, to Willis and Lucile Blek of Veneta. She attended Elmira high school and was involved in many activities. Her early years were often spent playing with cousins from Eugene and neighborhood children. One special memory of Gayle's at the family lumber business was sliding down the wigwam burner dump shoot when it was cold, her dad standing nearby. Gayle loved her parents and was dedicated to their care as they aged.

Gayle attended the University of Oregon and Southern Oregon University graduating with a degree in physical education and health. At Southern Oregon she was a volleyball star. After graduation she taught and coached in Florence, and, after moving to Pendleton, she loved her years at Helen McCune Junior High and the combined Pendleton Junior High known as the 'The Yellow Banana'. She started as athletic director/teacher and, after completing her administrative credentials through the University of Oregon, became assistant principal. Gayle did most everything to make sure the programs for all students were run equally and with good equipment. Organization skills were the best because of the detail she put forth. The kids all loved Ms. Blek. Her care and concern for the students made each one of them feel important. Staff also appreciated her professional skills. Humor, laughter and caring were signs of her love and generosity towards colleagues.

Gayle loved God, family, friends and golf. She was a member of the Oregon Women’s Golf Association, Pendleton County Club Women and the Salem Golf Club. She was club champion at Pendleton with three holes in one.

The golf gals all enjoyed knowing Gayle and many great times together in competition and gal laughter.

As her family grew Gayle enjoyed making baby blankets for the newbies and then picking out a special gift as well. She sewed passage quilts for the Pendleton St. Anthony Hospital and visited with her cousins many times. Groups such as the pinochle bunch became like family. They played and laughed and lemon-dropped! RV women travelers had great adventures crisscrossing the state, enjoying many interesting sites. Going to Seaview, Washington, for relaxation and golf or sitting on the deck with crazy fun family and friends meant so much to Gayle. She and her dog, Katy May, would walk the paths and seashore most every day. A happy place. Lastly, Gayle liked to travel. Each trip she met many new friends and by the end of most trips she convinced everyone to come and relax amid laughter.

Gayle loved everyone.

Gayle loved her faith. She often attended daily Mass wherever she lived. She was a eucharistic minister.

Gayle was preceded in death by her parent's and her dog, who passed one month earlier. She is survived by her aunt Arvilla Heidt and her eight Heidt cousins, Jerry, Pam, Rex, Colleen, Karla, Mark, Dan and Laure, and families. Also surviving are Blek cousins, Joyce and Shirley, and their families.

The family would especially like to express their thanks to the many friends who drove her to appointments and cared for her and Katy. A special thanks to Dr. Pierce and staff as well as the wonderful doctors, nurses and aides on the fifth floor of Salem Hospital’s Oncology unit. Gayle loved the help she was getting and laughed and teased with them a lot. Gayle was a strong woman, a lovable redhead filled with joy. God bless her and hold Gayle in his Hands. Donations to a charity of choice. Assisting the family is Virgil T. Golden Funeral Service.