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Official Obituary of

Gail D. (Gilson) Ojala

June 20, 1946 ~ March 11, 2024 (age 77) 77 Years Old

Gail Ojala Obituary

Shelburne, MA- Gail D. (Gilson) Ojala, 77, passed away Monday, March 11, 2024, at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield after a period of failing health. Born June 20, 1946, to the late Clifton Gilson and Marion (Cramm) (Gilson) Cox in Gardner, MA, she grew up in Morningdale, MA. She is predeceased by her younger sister, Jane K. Gilson of West Boylston, MA. A life-long learner, she was a graduate of Tahanto Regional High School-Boylston, Worcester City Hospital School of Nursing, and she earned a Master’s in Education from UMass Amherst, allowing her to become a Clinical Nurse Specialist.
Gail is survived by her husband of 45 years, Leo of Shelburne; daughter Dawn P. Kennedy and wife Dr. Margo Townley of Greenfield; step-son Jeffery Ojala and wife Dr. Heather Jetton of North Chersterfield, VA; son Davin G. Ojala and "wife" Krystle Swan of Shelburne Falls, MA; son Nicholas Ojala and wife Sarah of Jasper, AL; sister Sharon L. Miller of King George, VA; brother Clifton Gilson, Jr., of Chesterfield, VA; brother Jonathan Gilson of Grafton, MA; and a number of nieces and nephews. She had 5 grandchildren, whom she cherished, telling them she was "the luckiest grandma in the world."
Gail moved to Western Mass in 1972. She started work at the Franklin County Public Hospital (now Baystate Franklin Medical Center) in January 1972 on the mental health unit, East Spoke. For 38 years she filled various roles from community outreach, admissions coordinator, and finally becoming the clinical manager of the gero-psychiatric consultation service to area nursing homes. After retiring from the hospital in 2010, she had a private practice specializing in treating and supporting those with memory loss disorders and their families in the community.
Gail and Leo built their home in Shelburne 40 years ago where they raised their family. She was active in her children's lives, participating in school activities and hosting kids' parties for a number of years. She was famous for her 5-pound meatloaf, legendary potato salad, alongside unparalleled apple and blueberry pies. She was a member of the Shelburne Senior Center. Upon her leaving her private practice in 2019, Gail was able to spend more time at their home near the ocean. She was a voracious reader, an avid gardener, and an enthusiastic walker. She enjoyed walking on the Canal in Turners Falls or on the beaches near their home in Kennebunk, ME. She was fascinated by the migratory birds and dragonflies. When sitting still, Gail watched birds at the feeders or the turkeys gathering near the barn in Maine.
There will be a celebration of life at Smith-Kelleher Funeral Home, Shelburne Falls, on Saturday, April 6th at 2pm. In lieu of flowers or food, please make a contribution to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, the Alzheimer's Association, or the charity of your choice in her honor.

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Gathering of Family and Friends
April 6, 2024

2:00 PM
Shelburne Falls funeral home
40 Church St.
Shelburne Falls, MA 01370


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