Posted by: lmcg1 | February 13, 2010

Remembering a friend

Thursday marked the untimely passing of a long-time friend, Gale Steck. Gail was a well-known potter in Saskatoon and Saskatchewan, and was involved in so many things that she is going to be missed by an awful lot of people. Gale sold her pottery through Handmade House on Broadway in Saskatoon as well as through arts and craft shows throughout the province. She was a founding member of Handmade House and I am sure they will be missing her so much.

About this time of year, in 1982, I decided that I needed to get some exercise. I was an an-home mom and the long winters here meant being pretty housebound with a 1 year old. I had read that the Field House was offering exercise classes and had a track for walking, plus child care, so I thought I’d try it out. I began first by walking on the track, and then noticed that there was a group of women about my age who were jogging and exercising on the track. After a few weeks I got up my courage to ask about the group, and was invited to join in – it was a group of women who were jogging for recreation and exercise. Gale was one of the group. We were and still are a wonderfully mixed group of ages and shapes, and after all this time, still get together at the Field House on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings for exercise classes and walking outside when the weather allows. We don’t jog any more, but we did for many years, making our way along the streets of Varsity View, Nutana and the University areas. Over the years, the group has remained remarkably the same. One or two moved away, now two have passed away, several have had illnesses to deal with over the years, there have been children and now grandchildren. So we have been our own little microcosm that has been together for about 30 years. We were named ‘The Field House Mafia” by one of the partners some years ago – if you ever had a question or problem, just bring it to the group and someone will know how to figure it out.

In the photos above: a piece of Gale’s pottery that I have; Sheila, Loretta and Gale; Lorraine S; Amy and Phyllis; Monica; Gale; a photo of most of the group having coffee after a class.

Gale was one of the stalwarts of the group, just being there almost all the time, except when travelling or doing a shift at Handmade House, doing a show or volunteering somewhere. At our Christmas lunch this past winter, she had been feeling a bit “off”, but came anyway as that is when almost all of us get together at the Faculty Club for a great lunch, cider and Christmas pudding.

When we got back together at the Field House just after Christmas, she was feeling unwell, but nothing very specific. Then just at the end of the first week in January, she went to the hospital emergency, and they ended up doing surgery to remove her gallbladder.  A few days later the news came back, terminal cancer. Everyone was shocked. Gale had never been sick in her life other than a cold. She came home for about a week, but she became worse and went back to the hospital, where she stayed for another 10 days or so, and then she was gone. It turns out that this is a fairly rare cancer, but a very aggressive one for which there is essentially no treatment. Mostly our experience is that with cancer, there is treatment and hope of a reasonable life in spite of it. But there are still cancers out there that are deadly, in a short time period. Unfortunately, our Gale got one of them.

These past few months have seen a number of losses. Time goes by so quickly, so enjoy each precious day with your family and friends. We have our good memories of Gale and send condolences to her family.


  1. As one of the group that met for after exercise coffee and chat I know that I will really miss Gail …..her enthusiasm for life, her up beat outlook on life and most of all…. her animated story telling.
    Part of me is in disbelief that she is gone.

  2. I will miss Gale and her way of making you feel like she was so glad to see you; whether you had seen her yesterday or last week. She would stop by my booth at the farmer’s market and say hello and stay and chat. I will miss her smile, her attentive way of making you feel that what you had to say was important. She was a good listener, a good friend and a good soul. My condolences to her family. I am glad that she was part of my cirlcle.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: