Gayle Cornaby Petersen passed away peacefully Wednesday, September 13th, 2023, surrounded by her children, Brad, Natalie, Greg, and husband Reed. Although her body failed her several years ago, her keen mind and love for others were warmly present to the end and will truly be missed by all.
She was born on September 28th, 1940, to Sterling and Hilda Cornaby in Spanish Fork Utah. She attended Brigham Young University, then transferred to the University of Utah where she pursued her a degree in Education. With her degree in hand, Gayle set out to make a difference in the lives of her students and the community at large. She taught at Columbus elementary school for several years and especially enjoyed teaching 5th graders, always saying they were smart but not too sassy. This was the first step of Gayle’s lifelong dedication to education and improving the lives of those around her.
Gayle’s innate capacity to serve was seen as she stepped forward to help where needed. She was an active member of the Junior League, the County Commission on Youth, Head Start Mothers Education Program, Youth Suicide Prevention Task Force, and Juvenile Detention Center. She continued her service by supporting Brad, Natalie, and Greg throughout their education with many years of involvement on PTA boards and Community Councils in their schools. For nearly 30 years she was a fixture in the halls of the Utah State Senate working in a variety of capacities. Life came full circle as she eventually returned to her education roots assisting with the Huntsman Education Awards and mentoring student teachers through Utah State University. Later in life she found immense joy volunteering at the Hope Clinic.
Gayle loved her young women and Relief Society sisters. As a devoted young women’s leader, she had a deep affection for the girls she served, exemplifying Christlike love and unwavering acceptance for each of them. Relief Society provided her with another opportunity to deepen her faith and uplift others.
Always a people person, Gayle adored her friends and family more than anything! All of her pursuits created a wide circle for her to spread love. From her P3, Monu-Mets and tennis friends to Tri-Delt, book club, senate, and many other groups, she sought connection in life. She loved parties and celebrations, and if there wasn’t one to attend, she would create a reason to have one. Every party and holiday were another opportunity to express her love for her friends and family without expecting anything in return.
Perhaps her greatest joy was as a mother and ‘Mimi’ to her eight grandchildren. She delighted in making them laugh, cooking them delicious food and supporting their every activity. Each of them is certain of their status as her favorite and they are right! Several hours after Gayle’s passing, we have no doubt that she secured a front row seat to her granddaughter, Jasmine’s, wedding. Jasmine and Gayle shared a birthday, so it was only fitting that they also shared another major lifetime milestone. It was truly a day of celebration!
While teaching school, Gayle met her husband Reed during his stint as the pool boy at her apartment complex. They married in the Salt Lake Temple and began an adventurous life together, with a shared passion for raising their three kids and creating a home where all their friends were welcome. She is survived by Reed, her husband of 58-years, her children Brad Petersen (Shelia), Natalie Boss (Greg), and Greg Petersen (Brittney) and her eight grandchildren, Morgan Seagle (Ben), Sage Petersen, Jonathan Boss, Jasmine Cook (Scott), Benjamin Boss, Stone Petersen, Greyden Petersen, and Sienna Petersen. She is preceded in death by her parents, Sterling and Hilda Cornaby, her brother Kay S. Cornaby (Linda), and her sister Suzanne Tanner (Bob). We have peace knowing that she has been happily reunited with her family.
Special thanks to her many friends who were there until the very end. She cherished your visits, as they gave her another opportunity to express her love for you and feel your love. Also, thank you to the Beehive Home team for the tender care of ‘Miss Gayle' through the last year of her life.
Please join us for a celebration of Gayle’s life at 11:00 a.m. on Monday, September 25th at the St. Marys Ward (1320 S. Wasatch Drive). A viewing will be held on Sunday, September 24th, 2023, from 6:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m. at Larkin Sunset Lawn (2350 E. 1300 S.) and Monday, prior to the services from 10:00 a.m. - 10:40 a.m. at the ward. Interment will follow at Wasatch Lawn Memorial Park.
In Lieu of flowers please consider a donation to the Hope Clinic or National Ability Center in Park City, UT.
I'm sorry for your loss, praying for your family, with love, Rhonda
We are so grateful we got to meet Mimi. We could
Just feel how deeply she loved her family and how much her family adored her. We love you all very much and are sending love and prayers during this sad time.
The Richard Cook Family
May her memory always be a blessing. Sending love to the Peterson Family, and to all her dear friends who will miss her deeply.
I had the opportunity on many occasions to work side by side with Gayle. She was not only funny and fun but also bright and efficient. It was a blessing in my life to have rubbed shoulders with her.
Dear Brad, Sheila and Family,
Our sincere condolences of the passing of Gayle. She sounds like an Incredible, Successful Woman with a tremendous spirit of Love, Faith, Fun and Care!
May your hearts be filled with her spirit always.
Comfort, Prayers and Peace.
Love The Moffat's
I loved your darling mother! I first met her when she hosted our wedding shower in her grand home on Devonshire. She was so warm and welcoming and threw an amazing party! After that she continued to greet me with a hug and a warm smile, always remembering my name and making me feel special. One day we ran into her at the hospital shortly after she had her stroke. She couldn’t say much in the way of words, but she said it all with her eyes and her hands. She made sure we knew she loved us. And again at Jim’s funeral. What a strong, wonderful, and loving woman. As Bonnie would say, “She’s a keeper!” Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this tender time!
Gayle was such a remarkable person! She gave so much love and taught us how to love better. You did such a wonderful job with her funeral and each person expressed what we all felt about her. I know she was so happy with what all of you did.
I wish I had been able to come to the viewing to hug each one of you, but the funeral was so outstanding. She deserved the best and you gave it to her.
She is definitely someone who will live on in our hearts.
My love to all of you.
To the Petersen Family,
We want to express our sympathy for the loss of Gayle. We missed being at the viewing and funeral because we are out of town. However, we watched the funeral on Zoom. The entire service was a wonderful and deserving tribute to Gayle. She was truly a person who loved life. She was a good friend to all who knew her and was always there to serve others.
We will all miss her.
Love to all of you, Craig and Marilyn
What a beautiful service for sweet Gayle. Oh how I wish I could be there to be with you celebrating her life and reminiscing. My thoughts are with you, love and hugs to all.