CANISTEO: Gayle M. VanSkiver, 65, passed away Thursday, April 28, 2022 in the town of Canisteo as a result of injuries sustained in an auto accident.
Gayle was born May 31, 1956 in the village of North Hornell at the former Bethesda Hospital to the late Elmer and Ortha (Kellogg) VanSkiver.
She was a graduate of Jasper Central School, then continued her education at Corning Community College and went on to receive her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in education at Mansfield University. For 34 years she taught special needs children. She started in her early years at Steuben ARC and later went to BOCES.
One of her greatest professional achievements was learning Simblisstics, a new innovative way to determine her students’ capabilities and give them a way to communicate their needs. Gayle taught this method to many surrounding schools. She also created a parents’ club to help those parents who were caring for special needs children to navigate through their trials.
Gayle also helped to seek funding for field trips for her students. One of the highlights of this was attending a Kenny Rogers’ concert. She and her students were invited backstage to meet Kenny and he presented all of them tee shirts and CD’s.
During her career, Gayle was instrumental in caring for her parents and raising her newly adopted daughter. In 2014, she moved to Canisteo from Jasper, to raise her beloved granddaughters. Gayle was a sweetheart to everyone and was compassionate, generous, fun-loving and was dubbed by her nieces and nephews as “Aunt Goofy Gayle”. Gayle loved watching movies, playing cards and board games with her granddaughters, and especially girls’ night out shopping and their “mini” vacation getaways.
Gayle is survived by a daughter Dorothy Barnes of Limestone, granddaughters Stephannie and Kayla Smith, three sisters, Cheryl (Lloyd) Drake of Jasper, Sharon Brewer (James Koegel) of Canisteo, Carrie (Carroll) Wade of Jasper, one brother, David (Vicki) VanSkiver of Andover. Several nieces, nephews and cousins. In addition to her parents, Gayle was predeceased by a sister Becky Mong, and nieces Jaimie VanSkiver and Venesa Wade.
A special thanks goes out to Yvonne Hunt for her help and for her laughter and to Dee Edmund for her unconditional and true friendship.
The family will receive friends from 3-6 pm Saturday, May 7th at the H.P. Smith & Son, Inc. Funeral Home in Canisteo. A celebration of life will be planned for a later date.
Memorial contributions in Gayle’s name in lieu of flowers may be made to the donor’s choice.