Gailya Sampson Dyer

March 23, 1931 ~ October 6, 2020

Gailya Sampson Dyer, the youngest of four children, was born to Helen Elizabeth Redfield and Malcolm Allen Sampson in her home in the small farm community of Max, NE on March 23, 1931.

Gay, as she was known, grew up, as most of the Greatest Generation, during the Great Depression. 

Her family struggled along as best they could manage and they eventually relocated to the Denver area where Gay attended school in Lakewood, CO.  She graduated from Lakewood High School in 1949. 

Gay married her longtime best friend, Gerald Douglas Dyer on July 28, 1950 in Colorado Springs. She worked for the family of the Dean of Colorado University in Boulder while Jerry attended college there. 

They first lived in a 20-foot trailer they purchased for fifty dollars.  After giving up a football scholarship resulting from a knee injury, Jerry graduated under R.O.T.C. and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Army in 1953. 

Gay and Jerry traveled all over the United States, as well as Central and South America, on various tours of duty.

Gay gave birth to Mark Steven Dyer at Camp Carson, CO on February 26, 1955.  She gave birth prematurely to Jerry Allen Dyer on October 11, 1956, also at Camp Carson.  Her third child, Thomas Ray Dyer, was born while they were stationed in Panama.

Gay was a loving mother, a housekeeper, served as a company commander’s wife, a battalion commander’s wife, and worked for the Federal Government under the Army Corps of Engineers and H.U.D.  

She stayed in Aurora with her three boys as Jerry was called to duty in Vietnam from 1962 to 1963 and again from 1967 to 1968.

After retiring from the Army as a Lieutenant Colonel on February 13, 1975, Gay and Jerry managed Hall’s Crossing Marina on Lake Powell. 

They stayed through the season in 1977, then took a long-delayed honeymoon around the country, seeing old friends and finally getting back to Niagara Falls. They settled in Arvada, CO for twelve years, then in Grand Junction on Halloween, 1989 for the remainder of their lives.

Gay was preceded in death by her parents; all three siblings, Winifred, Irma, and Dean; their spouses; and by her loving husband who was interred at Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery on their 67th wedding anniversary.

Gay missed Jerry so badly, having never been alone for eighty-six years. She passed away at Hope West Hospice late on the night of October 6 at the age of 89.

She is survived by her three sons “as good as daughters;” their spouses, Debbie Poleri, Elaine Chin, and Janis Dyer; seven grandchildren, Brandy, Susan, Earl, Terrilynn, Danielle, Ashleigh, and Mark, Jr.; one step-grandchild Stephanie Simak; 10 great-grandchildren, Kimberly, Adam,  K’Shai, Meilin, Melody, Bella, Hazel, Walt, Oakley, and Addison; and one great-great-grandchild, Moai.

San Juan Record

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