Westgate Gail Westgate. Born in Chicago, Illinois January 24, 1935 to Clyde and Viola Westgate. Died February 14 in Shorewood, Minnesota after a sudden battle with intestinal cancer. Raised in Lincolnwood, Illinois, she attended Lincolnwood Elementary School and Niles Township High School in Skokie, Illinois. She majored in History at the University of Chicago graduating in 1956. She is preceded in death by her former husband, Barry Nathan. The two were married in London, England in 1961. They had two children, Christopher and Adam, and five grandchildren, Nicholas, Oliver, Christopher, Daniel and Alannah. Though the two were divorced in 1978, their abiding friendship continued, fueled by their shared love of their children. Upon Barry's diagnosis with cancer in 1993 Gail moved to Minnesota and took care of her former husband in his last months, an act of generosity that deeply moved Barry and her family both. A Montessori pioneer and founder of the Princeton Montessori School, she later taught in Montessori schools in Oakland, California, River Falls, Wisconsin and Minneapolis, Minnesota. Her crowning professional achievement was the construction of the current Princeton Montessori School facility on Cherry Valley Road in Princeton, New Jersey. More lasting, however, was the impact that she had on almost forty years of elementary school children. Her love of children and belief in the Montessori Method were her professional gift to the world. Gail lived in Bergamo, Italy where she received her Montessori teaching certification, traveled to Central America, Africa, Europe and most recently, China. Never was she more at home, though, than when she spent her summers in New Harbor, Maine. She thrilled to share her life there with friends, to open her home, share her marvelous harbor-view, and take them for walks on Pemaquid Point. To know her was to know a free and fiery spirit and a generous heart. Gail was a devoted patron of the arts and film, and a lifelong student of civilization and literature. She delighted in the thriving arts community in St. Paul and was a familiar face (and voice!) to many. When Gail Westgate signed up for this life she checked all the boxes. She led a full, happy life with great joys, some deep sorrows, and always remained a loving and supportive participant in this life. She will be deeply missed by her adoring family and her vast circle of friends who will be thankful for having known and been loved by her. Gail, Grandma, Mom we will love and miss you always. Gifts in memoriam should be sent to the Gail Westgate Memorial Fund c/o Lake Country School 3755 Pleasant Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55409. 612-827-3707.
Published on April 6, 2003
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