Dorothy Gail Linnell (Gray) departed this life on February 6, 2023, of natural causes surrounded by family. Gail, as she was known, led an active and inspired life despite spending much of her 18th year in an iron lung recovering from polio. The paralysis that left her unable to walk presented few barriers in a fully engaged life.
Gail received an associate degree from Boston University at 21 and was married in 1956 to the love of her life, Harry L. Linnell, who pre-deceased her in 2009. They celebrated fifty-three years of marriage, most of them in their beloved home on Morses Pond in Wellesley, Massachusetts raising two daughters, Deborah and Laura there amidst a menagerie of beloved pets.
A woman of faith, Gail was a congregant of St. Patrick’s Church in Natick where she grew up and received all major sacraments and of St. James the Great Church in Wellesley.
Gail was an active flower and vegetable gardener, back-yard birder, oil and water paint artist and dabbled with the guitar and piano. She took up sailing in the 1960s and achieved the Presidential Fitness Award for swimming in the 1970s. She followed up the swimming award with scuba lessons at the Needham Y. In 1978, with children grown, Gail went back to school and learned COBOL programming. She spent the next decade working for Honeywell. Gail was an original founder of the Wellesley Sailing Club, advocated for and won a ban on gas boat motors on the Pond and was involved in the Wellesley Democratic Town Committee. She bred Persian cats for several years and was an active member of the Cat Fancier’s Association. Gail was a great conversationalist and loved talking about books, religion, and politics. She was an ardent fan of Boston College and Patriot’s football. And Gail and Harry never went out fishing that Gail did not hook and land the bigger fish – be it a bluefish off Cape Cod or a barracuda in Mexico.
Gail loved Cape Cod and spoke passionately about childhood summers spent in Dennis and the many beach days with Harry and children at Sippewisett Beach in Falmouth. She also loved to travel and organized memorable trips with her husband to Key West, Mexico, Jamaica, Nova Scotia, and Ireland.
Gail endured physical challenges with grit, perseverance, and humor. She was an inspiration to the many people she met and touched throughout her life.
Gail leaves behind her daughters Laura Linnell Browne (Joseph) Browne and Deborah Linnell (Karen) all of Rhode Island; her beloved grandsons Jesse Browne of New York City and Harrison Browne of Rhode Island; sister, Mary Lou Gray (Falmouth, MA); sisters-in-law, Patricia Kirby (Dover, MA) and Mary Anne Gray (Tallahassee) along with many beloved nephews, nieces, neighbors, and friends. Besides her husband, Gail was predeceased by her brother, Robert Gray.
The family wishes to thank the aides who have been by Gail’s side the last 20 years, particularly Leia Pirchiner, Rosa Benicio, and the wonderful nurses at Newton-Wellesley Hospital, Good Shepherd Community Care, and Beaumont Skilled Nursing Center.
Funeral from the John Everett & Sons Funeral Home, NATICK COMMON on Friday, February 17, 2023, at 9:00 am. A Mass of Christian Burial will follow at St. Patrick’s Church, 144 E Central St., Natick at 10:00 am. Interment will be held at Woodlawn Cemetery, Wellesley. Friends and relatives are respectfully invited to attend. Visiting hours will be held on Thursday, February 16, 2023, from 4 through 7 pm.
For full obituary and guestbook: everettfuneral.com
To plant a beautiful memorial tree in memory of Dorothy Gail (Gray) Linnell, please visit our Tree Store.