Gayle LaNae Smith, 73, passed away on April 21, 2022 in Highland,
Utah. She was born March 12, 1949 in Salt Lake City, Utah to William R. Smith and Wanda Webb Smith.
Gayle was always a kind, loving, generous, hard-working, adventurous and fun person. Whatever Gayle set her mind to, she could do well.
In her younger years she was in the high school band and orchestra. She played the saxophone, clarinet and the organ. She was also on the high school badminton team and participated in several other sports. She exceled in typing and shorthand and was one of the few, if not the only, students that could out-type her typing teacher.
Gayle was a lifeguard, water skier and later owned and operated her own ski boat. She found joy in teaching her nephews, nieces, granddaughters and some of their friends to waterski.
Above all else, Gayle will always be remembered as a teacher extraordinaire. She taught at La Vista, an at-risk high school for 37 years and at Fullerton College, at night, for 30 years. She was always the teacher that students sought after because she was known as the teacher who cared. Many of her high school students called her Mom and she still had former students contacting her until her death. Many students said that having her as a teacher was life-changing. Gayle implemented a program at her high school called PAL (Peer Assistance League). One of the many aspects of the program was to instill self-worth into young people who had never been seen as worthwhile. Gayle had many students come to her and tell her that she was the first person who had ever told them that they were worthwhile. She also taught them how serving others could be uplifting in their lives. In addition to instilling love, hope, self-worth and service, she prevented suicides, helped in drug rehab and gang withdrawal.
Gayle was recognized on many levels for her teaching ability including state, county and district. One of the awards that she received was being named PAL teacher of the year for the state of California for which she received a certificate from the governor.
She received a prestigious award that was presented to very few teachers in all of Southern California. It was called the Crystal Apple Award. The award was presented through the television news station NBC. Very few teachers were awarded this honor and the teacher had to nominated by her/his own students. The television station then sent a reporter and crew out to her school and filmed Gayle with her class and it was shown on the 6 o’clock news.
Gayle always wanted to be “The teacher that she never had” and she surely achieved that and more.
Gayle has always been a caring, loving and generous individual who helped and encouraged everyone that she could along her life’s path.
Gayle is survived by her sisters Dawn Lakin, Cindy Sweet, Shellie Nazer and her chosen family, sister Patricia Miller, daughter Marcela Duran, granddaughter Marie Uyeno and Sandra Smith, grandson-in law Robbie Uyeno, great granddaughters Kyley Smith, Presley Smith, Aubrey Smith, Paige Uyeno and Paisley Uyeno. A visitation will be held Saturday April 30, 2022 from 1:00 to 3:30 pm at the Anderson & Sons Lone Peak Chapel, 6141 West 11000 North, Highland, Utah
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