Gayle Jean Smith, 59, Mandan, died unexpectedly on May 13, 2018.
A funeral service will be held at 1 pm on Friday, May 18, 2018 at First Presbyterian Church in Bismarck, with Rev. Deanna Reikow officiating. Burial will be at Sunset Memorial Gardens.
Visitation will be held from 5 to 8 pm on Thursday, May 17, 2018 at Buehler-Larson Funeral Home, Mandan, with a prayer service at 7 pm. Visitation will continue one hour prior to the service at the church on Friday.
Gayle was born July 5, 1958 in Watertown, South Dakota, to Warren and Alice (Pekelder) Larson. Her family moved numerous times throughout SD and MN with her father’s truck driving job. A mischievous young girl, Gayle attended most of her school years in Marshal, MN and then finished her senior year, graduating from Mandan High School in 1977. From a young age, Gayle had a love for horses and dogs and would make a home for any stray that came her way. In 1981 Gayle married Lawrence Ivan Sletten in Mandan and they made their home in Thief River Falls, MN where they had two children, Shari and Kyle. Lawrence died in 1986 from leukemia and Gayle returned to Mandan with her children. A hardworking and dedicated mother, she worked at her kids’ school for several years and later discovered her great passion for cooking while working at the Mandan Hospital. This is where she met Richard “Rick” Smith and they were married on November 17, 1995, making their home west of Mandan. This marriage gave Gayle two step-children she loved as her own, Tia and Jeremiah, and in 1996 Gayle and Richard had a daughter, Mariah. Gayle continued to enjoy her jobs as a cook in Bismarck-Mandan, most recently at The Centre in Mandan. A generous and selfless person, Gayle was always willing to help out in any way she could and always said she was only a phone call away. She enjoyed gardening and also traveling with her family to historical parks across the upper Midwest. Gayle’s greatest love was for her six grandchildren. A beautiful woman with a kind and caring heart, Gayle will be missed by those who knew and loved her. This loss leaves a tremendous void, but as Gayle always said, we’ll take it “one day at a time.”
Blessed to have shared her life is her husband of 22 years, Rick Smith, Mandan; children, Shari (Levi) Schmidt, Mandan, Kyle Sletten (fiancée, Alisha Holtan) Mandan, Tia Smith, Fargo, and Mariah Smith, Mandan; 6 grandchildren, Mason and Chase Schmidt, Kylie and Riley Holtan, Kambrie Sletten, and Hermione Smith; her mother, Alice Larson, Mandan; two brothers, Gary (Donna) Larson, New Salem and Rodney Larson, Mandan; and mother-in-law, Edna Smith, Bismarck.
Gayle was preceded in death by her first husband, Lawrence Sletten; her father, Warren Larson; step-son, Jeremiah Smith; and father-in-law, Virgil Smith.
Memorials are preferred to the family.