Hertha “Heddy” Elfriede Anna Fiebig Gayle, passed away July 3, 2019 at her home in Bay City, Texas and surrounded by her beloved family.
Heddy is preceded in death by her parents, Minna Elfriede Oertner Fiebig and Wilhelm Richard Fiebig; five brothers, Eric, Gerhardt, Godfried, Heinz, and Herman; four sisters, Ermgot, Meta, Martha (Corbett Harrison), and Lisa; and 2 grandsons, Matthew Bartlett Gayle and Sean Elias Gayle.
She is survived by her four children, John Richard Gayle (Sandra), Elfriede “Frieda” Ann Gayle Runk (Jay), Stuart Bartlett Gayle (Margaret), and Barbara Sue Gayle Robinson (Stephen); grandchildren, Andrew Blake Gayle (Brandi), Victoria Nicolette Gist (Seth), Nevada Nicholas Runk, Angela Gayle Stuart (Shane), Cameron Gayle Larkin (James), Christi Miller Lalonde (Toby), Jason Miller (Gina), Johnathan Douglas Gayle (Monica), Harvest Rae Gayle-Balboa, Andrew and Emily Robinson; great grandchildren, Wyatt Gayle, Emily Fric, Reagan Stuart, Cooper and Kaylee Larkin, Ali and Falin Lalonde, Marc Sablatura, Maggie (Hunter Mraz), C J and Lorin Miller, Taryn, Taylor, and Tristan Gayle, Remington and Bentley Robinson; and great-great granddaughter Heidi Mraz.
Heddy was born on November 21, 1930 in Ulbersdorf Kreis Goldberg-Haynau/Schlesien (Germany) and became a Naturalized Citizen of the United States of America on November 29, 1955. Her childhood was interrupted by World War II during which she spent time in “Displaced Persons” camps, separated from most of her family. Eventually she was reunited with her parents and 3 sisters who had survived the war. Once the war ended, her beauty caught the eye of a young TAMU Army Cadet, Douglas Zack Gayle. They quickly fell in love and before long Heddy was aboard the Army transport ship General R. M. Blatchford (March 1952), heading to the United States under the Displaced Persons Act of 1948. She arrived at the port of New Orleans where she was processed and given a $50 bill from the Red Cross. She then took a train to Houston where she was met by complete strangers, her future in-laws and welcomed into employment as a sales clerk for the family-owned business (Gayle’s Midway Grocery Store).
Heddy and Doug were married on April 25, 1952 in Calhoun County, Texas. Their first home together was in College Station, Texas where they lived in an apartment complex for married TAMU students until Doug completed his BS degree in Petroleum Engineering. During that time, Heddy worked in the Student Center Cafeteria as a cashier. In the early years of their marriage, Heddy and Doug enjoyed the freedom of moving from city to city, exploring new job opportunities (even taking them as far south as Columbia, South America). Heddy always managed to put each new residence in order quickly; even while juggling 4 children, extended family members, and numerous pets (especially her beloved Rottweiler, Black Jack). She was an active PTA mom. Her hobbies included gardening, fishing, camping, reading (courtroom dramas and murder mysteries), canning and cooking. She was a skilled seamstress, creating curtains for their homes and clothing for the children. She always enjoyed playing cards and dominoes, especially Bridge, Gin, Forty-Two and Eighty-Eight.
Although her formal education was cut short due to the war, she was an intelligent and capable woman who spent many years, alongside Doug, in the daily operations of their family owned companies including Sue-Ann Oil & Gas, Gayle Family Investments and Erste Frau. Though their marriage ended after 25 years, the two remained the closest of friends until Doug’s death in 2012.
Heddy was a long-time member of Lolita United Methodist Church. While living in Bay City, she also enjoyed attending St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, where her Memorial Service will be held on Friday, July 12, 2019 at 11:00 a.m., to be followed by a reception in the church Parish Hall.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to: Lolita United Methodist Church, 94 College Street, Lolita, Texas 77971 or St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, 2200 Avenue E, Bay City, Texas 77414.
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