Gail Elizabeth Mather Ehr Oakes passed away on February 15th, 2023 at the age of 82. She was born on April 3rd, 1940 to MaryRuth Wood Mather and Glen Lamar Mather in Denver, Colorado. She was preceded in death by her parents, her husband Arnold Gray Oakes, her first husband Albert Phillip Ehr, and her son Gregory David Ehr. Gail is survived by her children Phillip (Susan), Jodi (David), Jeff (Jeff), Cathy (Stephen), and her beloved grandchildren, Danielle, Christopher, Laura, Jennifer (Joshua), and Claire. She is also survived by her sister Margaret Karen Mather Wolfe, and her brother David Glen Mather (Carole), and a wonderful extended family of in-laws, nieces, nephews, and friends.
Gail grew up in Colorado with her family moving between Denver and Boulder. She married Phil after high school and they started a family by welcoming Phil (“Little Phil”), Jodi, and Greg into the world. Phil’s career took them from Denver to Los Angeles to Johannesburg to several homes in the Washington D.C. area. After divorce, Gail continued raising her three children and worked as a secretary in the Pentagon. Two years later, Gail married her old friend, Arnie. They blended families in Silver Spring, Maryland, where Gail’s family expanded to include Jeff and Cathy, as well as Arnie’s mother, Myrtle, who loved and depended on Gail. She had a full house and ran a tight ship. She never wavered, caring and loving her five teenagers. Gail’s devotion extended to their friends, schools, sports teams, and the neighborhood. As her children ventured out, Gail found one of her life’s passions—administering Pathways School, which was a mission of her church, Northwood Presbyterian. When Arnie passed in 1992, Gail moved to a new home in Leisure World, where she thrived for 30 years. She retired from work at age 62 and spent the next 20 years traveling to her grandchildren in England, visiting with friends and family in Denver and North Woodstock, New Hampshire, singing in her church choir—a lifelong joy from her high school glee club—and participating in Al-Anon.
Gail’s life was characterized by a fullness, resiliency, and vibrancy that persisted throughout her life. She embodied the Christian faith, connecting deeply to joy, peace, and community in her walk with Jesus. Gail’s kindness, friendliness, and openness made her easy to love and enabled her to create communities everywhere. Her family continues in awe of her many new and renewed connections, including friendships begun during the pandemic. Gail loved learning new things and took a particular interest in the arts—she always had something to share about her current historical novel or recent theater experience. At home, she could be found gardening, reading, or chatting with friends.
A service honoring Gail’s life will be held on Saturday, February 25th at 11am at Northwood Presbyterian Church, 1200 University Boulevard West, Silver Spring, Maryland. The service will be followed by a light lunch reception in the church hall. Service will be live streamed via the following link - https://www.youtube.com/@northwoodpresbyterianchurch/streams
In lieu of flowers, we ask that you honor Gail’s life with a donation to Helen Keller International. https://helenkellerintl.org/
You may view photos thru Gail's life as well as leave remembrances and condolences on the Tribute Wall.