Gail Artyth George Lese, 79, of Naples, Florida died Monday, October 5, 2020.
She was born January 8, 1941 in Washington Hospital, Washington, PA and was the daughter of the late James Francis George and Alberta Grace Johnson George.
Gail is survived by her husband of 56 ½ years, Dr. Alexander Lese; her two daughters, Dr. Gail Bronwyn Lese and Alexis Jill Lese; her sisters, Madge Ruth (Stanley) Marazsky and Lynn Alberta George (Roger) Angelelli and many nephews, nieces, cousins and other who were all dear to her.
Gail was a majorette in the Bentleyville Fireman's Marching Band in the mid 1950's. The band was invited to march and play music in the Orange Bowl parade in Miami, Florida. She enjoyed this experience a lot.
Gail graduated from Bentleyville High School in the class of 1958 as a high honor student and a Pennsylvania state forensics champion. After graduation Gail was accepted and enrolled in California University of Pennsylvania as a mathematics major and a physics minor. She went to school year-round and graduated in three years in 1961. After graduation, Gail secured a position in the Lorraine School District in Lorraine Ohio, as a mathematics teacher. Her starting salary was $4,700 per year which was way above the starting salary at the time.
The following year, 1962, a vacancy occurred in the mathematics department at her high school alma mater. As fate would have it, this was a life altering decision. Gail was hired as a mathematics teacher and she was able to move home, and help finances for her mom's tuition at California University of Pennsylvania. The same year Gail became engaged and subsequently married the chemistry and physics teacher Alexander Lese.
At the conclusion of the academic year 1963 - 1964, Gail and her husband Alex moved to Horsham, Pennsylvania where she became a mathematics teacher in the Hatboro-Horsham school district. At that time Alex was studying to obtain a master's degree in education with a physics major at Temple University. Following his graduation, they moved to Havre De Grace, Maryland, where Gail obtained a mathematics position in the Havre De Grace Middle School. At the same time Alex obtained a position as an operations research analyst with the Army Material Systems Analysis Agency at the Aberdeen Proving Ground in Maryland. Ultimately, Gail took a position as a mathematician with the Ballistics Research Laboratory at the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. There she utilized her mathematics and physics knowledge to develop firing tables for various types of artillery munitions. These firing tables were used to teach artillery officers at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, which munitions would provide the maximum effectiveness in a war scenario. In her Naples, Florida home, Gail proudly displays a spent munitions shell that is used by the U.S. Army today.
Three years later, Gail and Alex celebrated the birth of their first daughter Gail Bronwyn Lese. Needless to say, Gail decided to change professions and became a full-time mother. Two years later Gail gave birth to their second daughter, Alexis Jill lese. During this time, Alex was developing a high-level career and much time was spent on travel and away from a new family. Gail sensed the frustration and without Alex knowing she made an application for him at the University of Maryland Dental School. He was accepted and took a one-year leave of absence to see if he would adapt to this new undertaking. Alex loved the new opportunity and Gail went back to teaching at the Aberdeen Middle School in Aberdeen, Maryland. During her time at Aberdeen Middle School, Gail had the privilege to teach, baseball hall-of-famer, Cal Ripkin Jr. Once, when Gail and Alex were attending an Oriole baseball game, they had seats right by the Oriole's dugout. As Mr. Ripkin exited the dugout Alex said, "Hey Mr. Ripkin your mathematics teacher is here" Mr. Ripken stopped and approached Gail and said "hello Mrs. Lese". Gail was very excited that he had remembered her.
To supplement income while attending dental school, Gail and Alex sold Amway products reaching the goal of "direct producer".
As Alex was completing dental school, Gail's father passed away. Gail and her family went to Bentleyville for the funeral. As Gail and family were ready to depart for Aberdeen, a phone call came from a dental supply dealer looking for Alex, inquiring if he would be interested in purchasing a very active dental practice from a recently deceased dentist. The practice was located in Brentwood, Pennsylvania. Gail bought the practice and the family relocated to Bethel Park, Pa, a four-mile drive to the office in Brentwood. As Alex was developing the new practice, Gail decided she would go back to California University of Pennsylvania and obtain a master's degree in education and a certification in administration. Immediately upon graduation Gail was offered a position as a principal at the Peters Township Middle School. However, Gail decided to put her talents to work in the dental practice. In short order, under the supervision of Gail, the dental practice went from three employees to 17 employees. The practice became a total family dentistry with all specialties.
Gail and her husband Dr. Alexander Lese founded the Brentwood Business Owners Association in 2001. The mission of the organization was to implement action whereby interest, enthusiasm, and support, as well as provide a voice in the political arena for the support of the business community in the greater Brentwood community and to promote business in that area. This organization has been used as a model by neighboring communities and is very active today.
Gail was not done yet. As a member of the John McMillan Presbyterian Church, Gail was ordained as an Elder. This lifetime appointment provided her privilege of serving communion. Before moving to Naples, Florida, Gail was very instrumental and putting a $250,000 addition to the existing church. Gail was also single handedly responsible for starting and totally funding the Bell Choir.
Gail was highly regarded at California University of Pennsylvania and was recruited to become a Trustee. She served for 14 years through three different Governors and two University Presidents. Gail was the recipient of the John R. Greg Award. The award is given annually to an individual who has proven dedication and loyal service to the alumni association.
As a California University of Pennsylvania Trustee, Gail had numerous accomplishments. Several examples include the formation of the Elmo Natali Student Activities Center, the establishment of the Southpoint Center in Canonsburg, Pa and personally sponsoring the fourteen uniforms needed for the first University Marching Band. Gail helped many students who needed a second chance to graduate.
Gail was one of a kind and will be cherished and missed by all.
Friends will be received 1 to 4 and 6 to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Thompson-Marodi Funeral Home, 809 Main Street, Bentleyville. Friends are asked to gather for a Service of Christian Burial at 1:30 p.m., Sunday, October 11, 2020 at the First Presbyterian Church, 812 Main St, Bentleyville with Reverend Dr. Daniel B. Merry, celebrant.
A procession will follow to Beallsville Cemetery for a Committal service.
Due to the current limitations on gatherings, visitors to the funeral home will be restricted to 25 at a time. Temperature checks, masks or facial covering are required in the funeral home and in the church. The family would like to express their understanding to those who are unable to attend.
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