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Gabrielle Hudson Gayle of Rosedale: Mom who crammed life 'into every moment of every day'

Gabrielle Hudson Gayle died of COVID-19 on April

Gabrielle Hudson Gayle died of COVID-19 on April 25. Credit: Leon Gayle

Gabrielle Hudson Gayle was supposed to be a mother again in July.

The Gayles had named the baby boy, Gabriel, after his mother, a family tradition they started by naming their firstborn, Leona, after her father Leon Gayle.

But a month after the 34-year-old mother drove herself to the hospital, Gabrielle Gayle died of complications from the coronavirus on April 25 at the Katz Women's Hospital at Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park. Her baby had died three days before. Her husband and mother also tested positive for the virus. Both have recovered.

“It was a double tragedy to lose the baby and her,” said Gayle's mother, Beverly Woods, who was also hospitalized with COVID-19.

When Gayle was a teenager, she was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome, a condition that could make it more difficult to conceive a child, her family said.

“A doctor had told her when they diagnosed her that she may never have a child,” said husband Leon Gayle, 34, of Rosedale, Queens. “That was something that always haunted her.”

So after Leona was born in 2016, Gabrielle Gayle was heavily involved in her daughter’s education and growth. She drove her to gymnastic and swimming lessons as well as two dance classes (hip-hop and ballet). Leona also appeared in fashion shows and two TV shows as an extra.

Just days before her hospitalization, Gayle was promoting a TV show in which her daughter appeared as a background actress on social media.

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“The thing she cared the most was her daughter. … She put everything into her,” Leon Gayle said. “She made sure [Leona] had every single experience she possibly could.”

Before falling ill in late March, Gabrielle Gayle was incredibly busy.

She taught special education at a Queens elementary school, pursued an online doctoral degree, coached a girls’ softball team, planned family trips and worked as her 3-year-old daughter’s acting and modeling agent.

“She crammed life and living into every moment of every day,” said Woods, 61, of Rosedale.

Since she was young, Gayle was driven — content with nothing short of As, her family said. Even when she was hospitalized, she didn’t forget to ask a classmate to make sure her assignments for her degree were completed.

“When I spoke to the person that was taking care of it, she was like you have to make sure I stay as an A,” Leon Gayle recalled. “She didn’t want a B. She didn’t want to just pass. She was all about As and doing her best.”

Gabrielle Gayle was born on June 28, 1985, in Mineola. She went to Freeport High School and was known for her pitching in softball. When she attended Utica College, she mentored other students, got involved in the Black Student Union and took part in a production of Eve Ensler's play, "The Vagina Monologues."

Through online dating, she met Leon Gayle in 2009. The couple married in 2014.

“Marrying her was my greatest accomplishment,” her husband said. “When you were in with Gabby, she loved you with almost reckless abandon.”

One of the fondest memories Woods has of her daughter was watching her skydiving in a video a few years ago.

“She sent me the film of her jumping out of the airplane because she wanted to celebrate her 30th birthday,” Woods said. “She had no fear.”

Other survivors include her siblings: Angelique Hudson of Houston, John Jacobs, AnnieNicole Woods and Alexander Woods, all of Rosedale. The family said a funeral will be held at a later date.

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