Donna Gayle Proctor, a resident of Coronation, Alberta, peacefully passed away in Lethbridge, Alberta on September 6, 2023, at the age of 80. After a joyous celebration of her 80th birthday surrounded by loved ones, Gayle left behind a legacy of adventure, accomplishment, and unwavering devotion to both God and her family.
Gayle’s early years were spent on a farm in Silver Heights, Eastern Alberta, where she grew up alongside her brother Bill and sister Gerri. Her fondness for horses, inherited from her rodeo cowboy father Johnny Leigh, became evident during her childhood. She formed a deep connection with the land and the animals that inhabited it, including her beloved grandparents, Cameron and Christina Leigh, whom she cherished dearly.
Equipped with a Bachelor of Education and a Master of Education from the University of Alberta, Gayle embarked on a remarkable career in teaching and educational leadership. She began teaching in the Edmonton Public School system in 1962, making a profound impact on numerous students through her work in elementary schools and special education programs. Gayle’s passion for education propelled her to become the Principal of Windsor Park Elementary School at a young age. Her visionary leadership and ability to foster strong relationships with parents and teachers created a nurturing and inspiring learning environment for students.
In 1975, Gayle and her husband, John Proctor, acquired a horse named Brandy and purchased a farm in Kingman, Alberta, where they embraced the joys of rural life. Gayle transitioned into principal positions at Ministik School and Wes Hosford Elementary in Strathcona County, continuing her dedication to education and her invaluable support for her students.
After retiring in 1994, Gayle entered a new chapter of life, spending winters in Mesa, Arizona, alongside her husband. They formed lasting friendships and created cherished memories in Venture Out. During her leisure time, Gayle pursued various hobbies such as reading, silver smithing, lapidary, and exploring garage sales in search of hidden treasures.
Despite her petite stature, Gayle left an indelible mark on the hearts of those who knew her. As a leader, educator, mother, and wife, her influence was profound and far-reaching. Gayle was a loving mother to her sons, Marty and Bradley, and a devoted wife to John.
Gayle is survived by her son Marty (Pam) Proctor, grandsons Chad (Danielle) Proctor, David (Ema) Proctor, James (Alison) Proctor, great-granddaughters Wynter and Leni Proctor, brother Bill (Marg) Leigh, sister Gerri (Len) Wahlund, nephew Darcy (Barb) Leigh, and nieces Vickie Houk and Erin Wahlund. Sadly, Gayle was predeceased by her parents John and Marion Leigh, her husband John Roger Proctor, and her son Bradley Roger Proctor, who passed away a mere three weeks earlier.
The family extends their gratitude to the compassionate professionals of the Lethbridge MAID program for assisting Gayle in departing from her frail body with dignity. Gayle’s passing serves as a reminder of her unwavering strength and grace throughout her life. She faced her final moments with bravery and elegance, leaving behind a legacy characterized by love and a thirst for knowledge.
Per Gayle’s wishes, there will not be a memorial service. In lieu of flowers, the family kindly requests donations to be made in Gayle’s memory to a charity of your choice. Cremation arrangements have been entrusted to Martin Brothers Riverview Chapel. Visit http://www.mbfunerals.com to send condolences.