May 16, 1937 - October 8, 2021
Exeter - Gail Marie Parks Michaud, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, died October 8, 2021 in Exeter, New Hampshire surrounded by family, ending a period of declining health. She was 84. Gail was born May 16, 1937 to Wallace and Viola Parks in Caribou, Maine where she would live nearly all her life. She attended local schools and graduated from Caribou High School, a proud member of the class of 1954. She joined her sister in Rhode Island to work for Aetna Insurance and then returned to Caribou where she worked at Farm Credit. It was in Caribou that she met and married the love of her life, Robert Michaud, in 1958, and their three children joined the family between 1960 and 1965. Gail created a comfortable home for all in a corner cape on Garden Circle, the site of many gatherings of family, friends, and neighbors. Her small castle welcomed her children and friends with the aromas of homemade date-filled cookies, pumpkin bread, and New England boiled dinners; the piercing whistle of the teakettle; and the steam rising from a mug of Red Rose. As the seventeenth child in a family of twenty-one, Gail thrived with people around her, and she was always known for her compassionate heart and listening ear. She put these qualities to use in numerous ministries at her second home, the Caribou United Baptist Church, where she served as a Sunday School and Vacation Bible School teacher, Pioneer Girls leader, choir member, and Young Homemakers director. She also shared her love and interest with her numerous nieces, nephews, and siblings. Aunt Gail and Grammy Gail will be missed by them all. Those of us who call her Mom, however, will feel her absence even more, something we have learned in the two decades since our father’s passing. Together they gifted us with the legacy of education, one of their shared values. Early on they made a deal with one another: Dad would pay the college expenses for Jane and Steven, and Mom would return to work and pay for Janice’s. To this end Mom opened Gail’s Catering in the early 1980s, conducted numerous Tupperware parties as a distributor, and finished up as the accounts payable clerk at Aroostook Mental Health Center. She stopped working once the last college bill was paid and fully focused on supporting her mother-in-law and enjoying Dad’s retirement. Mom valiantly faced the loss of Dad in 2000, and for over twenty years she lived on her own with grace, independence, and courage. She filled her days penning letters to her eight grandchildren when each went off to college, tucking dollars into cards and heartening them with Bible verses, news from the County, Cross Lake memories, and inspirational quotes. Always the encourager, she loved scrolling through pictures of friends and family on her i-pad, liking and commenting on posts. In an effort to ward off memory loss, she religiously completed the daily jumble, Sudoku grids, and word search puzzles and watched Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. In later years her exuberance and sociability eased every transition as she moved to New Hampshire to be closer to her children. Within days of relocating to Langdon Place of Exeter, Mom knew dozens of residents. She said, “I will do all of the activities offered—trivia night, bingo, movie night—and go to all of the meals in the dining hall so that I can meet everyone.” Such a resilient, buoyant, faithful spirit will always motivate us any time we reach out to others, initiate a conversation with a stranger, walk to a podium for a public speaking engagement, or pause to pray for a friend, child, or acquaintance. Not a day will pass without sensing the absence of our most stalwart, steadfast prayer warrior and the memory of a woman who would drop everything when the caller i.d. indicated one of our names. We will hear the echo of a solid, bold alto when “My Jesus, I Love Thee” and “How Great Thou Art,” her favorite hymns, play quietly in our long-term memories, and in our most stressful moments we will cling to the dictum of her favorite verse: “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything through prayer and supplication let your requests be made known unto God.” And when the grief and pain overwhelm, we will immediately imagine a young woman with jet-black hair and a wide smile walking hand in hand with her redheaded Bobby in the presence of their Lord and Savior. Surviving are one son and daughter-in-law, Steven R. and Christine Michaud of Durham; two daughters and sons-in-law, Jane Michaud Smith and Dennis Smith of North Hampton, N.H., and Janice Michaud Smith and Jeffrey Smith of Brunswick; eight grandchildren, Robert Dale Smith (Melody), Evan Bailey Smith (Jennifer), Morgan Smith Crume (Evan), Benjamin Joseph Michaud (Aubrey), Brigham Emil Michaud (Sarah), Beau Steven Robert Michaud (Alyssa), Victoria Catherine Smith, and Bradford Michaud Smith; thirteen great-grandchildren; several nieces and nephews; and one sister, Lana Wilcox and her husband Boyd. A funeral will be held at the Caribou United Baptist Church in Caribou, Maine at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, October 30, 2021. Memorial gifts can be given to the Caribou United Baptist Church Memorial Fund, 74 High Street, Caribou, Maine 04736.
Exeter - Gail Marie Parks Michaud, beloved wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother, died October 8, 2021 in Exeter, New Hampshire surrounded by family, ending a period of declining health. She was 84. Gail was born May 16, 1937 to... View Obituary & Service Information
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