Gayle Baird, age 78 of Glenwood, formerly Swift Falls, died Sunday, December 8, 2019 at Glenwood Retirement Village. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 A.M. on Saturday, December 14th at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Swift Falls. Visitation will be at the church on Friday from 5:00 - 7:00 P.M. and will resume there on Saturday, beginning at 10:00 A.M. Inurnment will be in Swift Falls Lutheran Cemetery. Arrangements are with the Hoplin-Hitchcock Funeral Home in Glenwood/Brooten.
Gayle Ann Amlie, the daughter of Irvin and Hilma (Thone) Amlie, was born on June 16, 1941, in Benson, Minnesota. She was the second of three children born to the couple, arriving between her older brother, Neil and her younger sister, Jane. Her early years were spent on a farm near Swift Falls, with many family gatherings taking place at the “red cabin” on Camp Lake. She and her family were members of Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church. When she was older, they moved to Benson and it was there that she graduated from the high school with the Class of 1959. The fall following graduation, Gayle enrolled at Concordia College in Moorhead, where she attended one year before transferring to a medical technology school in Minneapolis, where she received her degree in laboratory technology.
After completing her education, Gayle remained in the Twin Cities and found work at the VA Hospital. It was there, in 1967, that she met her husband, Michael J. Baird, a chemical engineer. The two were united in marriage on December 16, 1967, and made their home in State College, TX. Together, they had four children, Dave, Debbie, Dan, and Dee. Mike’s work took the family to several different cities, including Ashland, KY, Waynesburg, PA, Venetia, PA, Bethel Park, PA and Naperville, IL. Regardless where the family moved, Gayle always brought them home to Swift Falls so her children could spend time at the cabin and get to know their aunts, uncles and cousins. The “red cabin” as it was known, had two bedrooms, but no indoor plumbing or running water. The lack of modern conveniences didn’t seem to bother the clan who, along with the family dogs, kept busy fishing, boating, swimming, playing games and visiting. It was the most anticipated vacation each year for the Baird children who, when given options for summer vacations, always answered, “Camp Lake!”
After the children had all graduated from high school, Gayle moved back to Swift Falls to be near her siblings, Neil and Jane, and other family still in the area. She purchased a home near the park and found a job in the lab at the Swift County -Benson Hospital, where she worked until her retirement.
Gayle was a very quiet, reserved lady, who held “old school” values and chose to keep mostly to herself, with a few exceptions. One of those exceptions was if her family dared to try to sleep in on Sunday morning instead of getting ready for church. She had no trouble turning up her volume to rouse sleepy children for church. She also tended to get boisterous when supporting her children at their numerous sports and activities and when she was out anywhere with her grandchildren she made sure to call attention to how beautiful and smart they were. She also let her competitive side show when the family would play holiday games that pitted the men against the women.
No matter the time of year, Gayle loved to play board and card games like Monopoly, Sorry, whist, rummy, cribbage, and Buck euchre. There was even a period of time years ago that she was addicted to a video game her children had called “Burger Time” which she would play when they were in school and reach levels way beyond that which the kids could achieve. When her children were young, she was a member of the PTA and she belonged to a bridge and tennis club as well as a bowling league. She also adored her pets, especially her dogs, Candy, Casey, and Lexie. Gayle was a Pittsburgh Steelers and a MN Vikings fan. She enjoyed tending her gardens and was known to have a sweet tooth, with her favorite treat being ice cream.
Over the years Gayle was blessed with wonderful friends and close family relationships. She cherished her children, grandchildren, siblings, nieces, nephews, cousins, aunts, and uncles, but her most special relationship was with her sister, Jane. The two were together through all life’s ups and downs including: births, child-rearing, graduations, weddings, marriages, divorces, and deaths. They were always a constant source of support to one another, even when separated by oceans. When daily activities became difficult for Gayle, Jane and her husband, Tom, stepped up and became Gayle’s caretakers so she could remain in her home as long as possible. Dave, Debbie, Dan, and Dee will be forever grateful for all that Jane and Tom did for their mom.
Gayle was a member of Shepherd of the Hills Church in Swift Falls, where she served on the church council and participated in various activities until illness secluded her. She became a resident at Glenwood Retirement Village in 2018 and resided there until her death early Sunday, December 8, 2019, having lived to the age of 78 years. Blessed be her memory.
Gayle is survived by her four children, David (Renee) Baird of Fishers, IN, Deborah (Devlan) Brill of Pittsburgh, PA, Daniel (Brenda) Baird of Princeton, MN, and DeAnna Baird of Brooten; four grandchildren, Zachary and Hannah Rosen and Addison and Vivian Baird; her sister and best friend, Jane (Tom) Petrak of Swift Falls; her former husband, Michael Baird, Gay (Ron) DuVal and Judy (David) Krall; as well as many nieces and nephews and their families.
She was preceded in death by her parents, Irvin and Hilma; her brother, Neil Amlie in 2008; as well as aunts, uncles, and cousins.
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