She was on top of the world, sitting on a rainbow. Now she’s performing with the angels.
Instead of aqua dresses for the “Sisters, Sisters” number she and six other Ms. Senior Americas were to wear at the pageant when she crowned her successor in Atlantic City this month, the gowns are white. Instead of twirling an umbrella, she has donned her shimmering wings.
Gayle was born in San Antonio, Texas and was adopted by Royal and Frances English when she was two days old. The family relocated to Denver when she was five. Gayle graduated from Bear Creek High School, and attended Red Rocks Community College for two years.
Known as a worker bee, she had a special flair for excellence in the hospitality industry.
She met well-known restaurateur Ed Novak in 1996 at the Aurora Summit where he often dined with his friend, the owner and where Gayle was a hostess. They married on May 25, 2001 at Wellshire Presbyterian Church. Many years later and after many restaurants they operated together, Gayle was so proud to have secured the loan herself in a primarily male-dominated industry and become full owner of The Summit Steakhouse.
The philanthropist and fundraiser took her role seriously as a volunteer and helped bring in millions for local charities. Her special love for humanity and the arts led to being elected president of the Denver Center Alliance (DCA). Under her leadership, the fundraising arm of Denver Center for the Performing Arts (DCPA) flourished and she was asked to be president a second year. Gayle was also the recipient of the DCA’s prestigious Volunteer of the Year award. She also chaired the organization’s signature gala Saturday Night Alive bringing in Frankie Valli, a huge hit with the audience.
Among others, she chaired the Volunteers of America (VOA) Western Fantasy, Rocky Mountain MS Center Gala and Cancer League of Colorado’s Hope Ball. She had plans already underway to chair the annual gala for Bessie’s Hope 2020 for which she entertained and was co-emcee this year.
On the internet, she has more stories and coverage than rock stars. Most recently she was featured in the local magazine Avid Lifestyle. Over the year of her reign, she crowned 17 queens in different states with Ed by her side.
Her cherished friend and Ms. Senior America 2004 – Michelle Rahn said,”Gayle was the gift that kept on giving and persevering in a joyful, exuberant way that touched my soul. We met via the crown of Ms. Colorado Senior America and our sisterhood flourished as if we’d known each other for a lifetime.” Tony David of Tony David & WildFire has known Gayle for decades meeting her in the 90s when she was hostess at the acclaimed Aurora Summit with her glowing smile and outgoing personality. “I had the honor to emcee the Ms. Colorado Senior pageant in 2018, so you can imagine how proud I was to see my friend win her first crown. We all love her and we all grew from knowing her and she made a difference in all our lives as the world was a better place with her in it.”
Gayle was mom to six and grandmother to 13. She was preceded in death by her father, Royal English in 2017. She is survived by her mother Frances English of Englewood, her brother Gene English of Englewood and his daughter Angela of Colorado Springs, her devoted husband Ed Novak, her son Zane Anderson of Aurora, her daughter Danielle (Grant) Hicks of Centennial and their children Keely, Nolan and Briar. Also, Ed’s son Todd (Lorie) Novak of Sioux Falls, South Dakota and their children Joshua and Rachel; Ed’s daughter Julie (Steve) Curtin of Aurora and their children Coleton, Cooper, Kennedy and Carter; Ed’s daughter Tanya (Michael) Hsu of Vancouver, Canada and their children Mia, Calvin and Issac and Ed’s son Kier (Paige) Boyea of Canyon Creek, Montana and their son Christian.
Her philosophy of life, required for the Ms. Colorado Senior America judging in 2018 and heavily weighted, is a beautiful capsule of Gayle. “My philosophy of life is like a melody. There are high notes and low notes. Yet I have learned to persevere until the end of the song. I am thankful for the music, the tunes of knowledge and wisdom. The joys and the challenges that have sung out to me throughout life. And, I look forward to the rhapsodies yet to come.”
She was the jewel in her own crown. Her favorite color was purple (the regal color.) Her favorite indulgence was proper tea that she and Ed enjoyed all over the world.
A Celebration of Life will be Wednesday, October 30, 1:00 p.m. at South Suburban Christian Church located at 7275 South Broadway in Littleton.
In lieu of flowers, contributions are welcome in honor of Gayle to a choice of three preferred organizations: Cancer League of Colorado ( PO Box 5373, Englewood 80155, www.cancerleague.org), Bessie’s Hope (PO Box 12675, Denver 80212, www.bessieshope.org) or Colorado Restaurant Association Education Fund ( c/o Mary Mino, 430 East 7th Avenue, Denver 80203).
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