In Memory of




Obituary for Gail M. Barrett

Gail Barrett (nee Blase) passed away from the devastating effects of dementia. Gail was the loving wife of John, mother to Paul (Kari) LaBelle and Amy Barrett, and grandmother to Keila LaBelle. She loved and was loved by her dear sisters, Linda (Bill) Merz and Carol (Bill) Fleming. She is also survived by her in-laws Mary Barrett, Tom (Kris) Barrett and Betsy (David Talaska) Barrett Flood and by many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her parents, Franklin and Gladys Blase, and her sister, Janet Dunnick.

Gail was an incredibly driven woman. Motivated to care for her son, Paul, she worked two jobs as a single mom. She then married her husband, John, and they were married for 38 years. Together they opened and operated a successful business, Van Winkle's. During this time, she also graduated from UW-Green Bay and gave birth to her daughter, Amy, returning to work the next day. After helping support the family while John pursued a law degree, she decided to pursue her own continuing education at UW-Milwaukee. Earning her Master's Degree in Education, she would go on to be a teacher and taught at West Side Academy for 18 years. She treasured her education and loved to share her passion for learning with her students, reveling in the accomplishments of her children, granddaughter, and her many pupils.

A love of travel led her to follow her family roots to Norway and Sweden. She enjoyed visits to France and England, Disneyland and Disney World, the Grand Canyon, Las Vegas to see her favorite singer, and family road trips to California and Florida. She loved being outside, whether it be exploring nature, taking photographs, riding horses, even softball where she was known as the "Bunt Queen", or working in the yard, a yard she was able to turn into a beautiful sanctuary for her whole family to enjoy. 

Gail loved music, especially Celine Dion and P!nk, whom she had the pleasure to see in concert several times. Anytime a song she liked came on, she could not help but to dance or sing along.

She cared deeply about people, especially her family. She loved "Sister Days" walking, skiing, hiking, and snowshoeing with her sisters in the many beautiful parks throughout Wisconsin, Sunday Morning Breakfasts, a 25 year tradition with "Gigi", Mary, Joe and Melissa Kirgues, their girls, and other family members, and weekly visits with her mother in Madison.

Her last few years were spent at St. Camillus. A special thanks to the kind and hardworking caregivers Letrice, Kim, Ruby and the staff at St. Camillus for the attention and love you gave to Gail on her journey through her illness.

Gail had a warmth and kindness about her. With a flash of her million dollar smile or a gentle touch of your hand, you could sense her caring nature.

We love you, Gail and miss you already. You were a cherished wife, sister, daughter, aunt, mother and person. We hope you will be greeted at heaven's gate by many loved ones, especially your mom, Gladys, and sister, Janet. We were lucky to have you in our lives.

Visitation will be held in the Guardian Angel Chapel of St. Camillus East Tower, 10100 W. Bluemound Rd., Wauwatosa, on Saturday, December 2nd from 10-11:45 am with a Memorial Service at noon. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the St. Camillus Foundation (Employee Appreciation Fund) or the Alzheimer's Association in her honor.