Baker City, Oregon
GaNell Wilburn Jeffries “Gay” Fitzgerald, 90, of Baker City died Jan. 16, 2004, at St. Elizabeth Care Center.
Her funeral will be at 2 p.m. Friday at Gray’s West & Co. Pioneer Chapel, 1500 Dewey Ave. Ed Haugland of the Kingdom Hall of the Jehovah’s Witnesses will officiate. Visitations will be from noon to 8 p.m. Thursday at Gray’s West & Co. and Friday before the service, starting at 8 a.m.
Gay was born on Aug. 25, 1913, at Payette, Idaho, to Thomas Frederick Wilburn and Nell Gertrude Carpenter Wilburn. She was raised on the family ranch at Paddock Valley and Crane Creek, Idaho, where she attended school.
She married Kenneth Lavern Jeffries on July 25, 1929, after attending one year of high school at Weiser, Idaho. They continued to live in the Crane Creek area for several more years where she gave birth to two sons, Thomas Kenneth Jeffries and Claude Calloway Jeffries. Both babies died of complications during birth.
The couple later moved to Haines to help a friend for two weeks. Ken and Gay then stayed in the Haines and Baker City area to raise their family. They had two daughters, Carole and Peggy, and a son, Gary. Even after they were divorced, Gay stayed in the area for the rest of her life.
Gay married Edward Fitzgerald on Oct. 3, 1958, at Winnemucca, Nev. They enjoyed trips to the ocean, camping and picnics with grandchildren. Gay worked as a waitress at many of the Baker eating establishments and was proud of her long tenure of dependable service, quoting one of her employers as saying, “she can be counted on like the morning sun.”
She was a faithful member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses congregation and helped spread the gospel until her age and health restricted her activities.
She was most proud of her children and their families. Gay was her happiest when she was making dinners for the family get-togethers, holidays, or any occasion.
Survivors include her husband, Ed Fitzgerald; daughters, Carole Kenworthy, and her husband, Leonard, of Baker City, and Peggy Waterson and her husband, Lee, of Prairie City; her son, Gary Jeffries, and his wife, Dorothy, of Idaho Falls, Idaho; 11 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren.
She was preceded in death by her parents; and sisters, Margaret Derrick, Callie Solders and Goldie Emery.
Memorial contributions may be made to the World Headquarters of Jehovah’s Witnesses through Gray’s West & Co., P.O. Box 726, Baker City, OR 97814.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, January 30, 2004
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor