Joy Denlinger Gale, 85, of Westbrook, Maine, died Tuesday, July 31, 2018.
Joy touched the hearts of all those who knew her.
Beautiful on the inside and out, she radiated kindness and love to all she encountered. A gifted musician and devoted wife, mother, aunt, grandmother and friend, she brought a sense of calm and peace to our oftenchaotic world as she moved confidently and faithfully about it. She believed in the power of possibility and changed the universe for the better through her quiet, deliberate and caring actions.
With a deep faith as her rudder she navigated life with passion for her family and relationships, showering those she knew with her innate optimism and grace.
Born Marilyn Joy Denlinger in Pemberton, in 1932, Joy attended school in the DeGraff school system. Called by her faith, she graduated from the Baptist Missionary Training School in Chicago, Ill., in 1954.
Immediately after college she immersed herself in work as a Baptist Youth Fellowship intern and later as the director of Christian education at First Baptist Church in Brockton, Mass.
After meeting Robert Gale in Brockton in 1957, a lifelong romance began and Joy and Bob were married in June 1958. Simply put, Bob was the love of Joy’s life. His ministry ultimately took them to Farmington, Maine, where they raised their two sons in a tight knit community among dear friends.
Between 1975 and 1995 Joy became a licensed social worker and the director of social services in long term care/nursing homes, enabling her to further enhance the lives of others. She considered this work to be her Christian ministry as she assisted those in need by creating support groups, counseling and providing general assistance to the residents.
From 1975 to1980 Joy was an elected delegate from Maine American Baptist Churches to the General Board of American Baptist Churches/USA. here she chaired the education committee of the Board of Education. She served on several committees for American Baptist Churches of Maine, and from 1986 to1988, she was humbled by her election as their president.
Joy enjoyed many years of retirement with her husband, splitting time between her home in Sarasota, Fla., and South Portland, Maine. A talented seamstress and sharp dresser, Joy did not miss an opportunity to sew a stylish outfit and step out. Her love of music kept her involved in various community and church choirs, including the Meadows Chorus andthe Pine Shores Presbyterian Church choir in Sarasota, Fla., and the First Congregational Church choir in South Portland, Maine.
She was an active volunteer in her community and treasured her five grandchildren. She made a mean chicken and rice casserole and her homemade Swedish tea ring on Christmas morning each year never failed to delight. She loved a good round of playing cards with friends and family, and typically held the winning hand.
All this, with a twinkle in her eye. She will live with us forever.
Joy is survived by her husband of 60 years, the Rev. Robert W. Gale; her children, Paul, his wife Meg and daughters, Devyn and Svieta of Jericho, Vt., Tom, his wife Anne and their children, Adam, Trevor and Natalie of Cape Elizabeth, Maine; and her brother, James Denlinger and his wife Patt of Bellefontaine.
She was preceded in death by her parents Everett and Risse Denlinger as well as by siblings, Vivian Rufus, Everett Denlinger and Karl Denlinger.
Bob Gale and his family wish to sincerely thank the staff of Stroudwater Lodge in Westbrook, Maine, and the hospice caregivers of Compassus in Scarborough, Maine for their compassionate care for Joy and her family. Thanks also to the physicians who assisted Joy on her journey, Dr. Mark Braun, Dr. Craig Brett and Dr. Jennifer Palminteri.
A celebration of Joy’s life will be held at the First Congregational Church, 301 Cottage Road, South Portland, Maine, at 1 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 19, followed by a reception.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Mercy Hospital Cardiology, PO Box 679, Portland, ME 04104.