Gael Smith Carrel

Gael Carrel

Gael Smith Carrel, passed away in the afternoon on August 7, 2018 at her daughter Cathie’s home in Willis, Texas with family and her cat, Tigger.  She was 80 years old.

She was born in Detroit, Michigan on March 30, 1938 to Gale Clifton and Dorothy Elizabeth (Butler) Smith.  She was an only child.

She graduated from Avon Lake High School in Avon Lake, Ohio.  After high school, Gael was an x-ray technician at Cleveland Clinic, in Cleveland, Ohio and worked on some of the early heart transplants there. 

She was an active member of Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church in Avon Lake, Ohio serving as president of the youth group, which is where she met her husband, Jack.  They were married on April 11, 1959 and had two children, Jack James and Catherine Gale.  In 1970, she and her family moved to Bogalusa, Louisiana

Gael was very active in the Bogalusa community.  For a number of years, she was owner of The Sampler (a needlepoint shop) and was a columnist for the Daily News.  Like her father, who was a paint chemist and loved being creative, she loved needlework, animals, gardening, nature, reading, studying art, genealogy, and writing cards and letters to her wide circle of friends.  She kept a daily diary from the time she was 18 until the day she had her stroke in 2012.  She and Jack were avid antique collectors and sold antiques at antique malls in Pass Christian and Bay St. Louis, Mississippi with their business, Dust & Rust.  She also worked with her son, Jack, as cashier and antique/collectible expert at the Werth-a-Stop Auction in Bogalusa.  She had been a member of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Bogalusa.  She coached Cathie’s little league softball and basketball teams, served as president of the board of Sunshine Town, president of the board of Northlake Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome Network, was one of the founders and chair of the Christmas in the Park Commission; member of the Bogalusa Mental Health Advisory Board serving as secretary, and an HIV educator with the American Red Cross.  She and Jack established the first HIV support group in Bogalusa, Facing the AIDS Crisis Effectively (FACE).  She was a supporter of the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, D.C., and the Southern Food and Beverage Museum, in New Orleans, Louisiana, where many of her food related antiques are now on display.  She and her husband were well known for installing the weekly inspirational sayings on the message board at Crown Zellerbach Paper Mill, where Jack worked.  In 1996, her community work was recognized by being chosen to carry the Olympic torch for part of its journey through Bogalusa.

She is preceded in death by her husband Jack; her father, Gale Clifton; and her mother, Dorothy Elizabeth (Butler) Smith.

She is survived by her son Jack James Carrel, Jr.; her daughter, Catherine Carrel-Montano and spouse, Larry; her son, Sean Andre Carrel and spouse, Rob; grandson, Leo Wesley Carrel Montano; and many individuals whose lives she touched through her work and avid letter writing.

Jack Carrel's obituary can be found here: