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District 2 Supervisor, Gayle Uilkema, Dies

Gayle Uilkema served local government since 1978.

Contra Costa County Supervisor Gayle Uilkema, who until this year represented Martinez on the Board of Supervisors since 1996, and who had announced her plans to end her three-decades-long political career at the end of her term in January 2013, has passed away after a long battle with cancer.

A service in her memory will be held Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at St. Perpetua Church in Lafayette.

Uilkema, who served for 19 years as a Lafayette City Council member with four terms as mayor of that city, said earlier this year she simply felt it was time to leave office, though friends and those close to her knew she was fighting the effects of ovarian cancer.

"I've been very privileged to have public support for over 30 years, and I'm grateful to the public for their faith in me," Uilkema said at the time. "I felt that it was important to let people know so that we can have a spirited election."

Uilkema spent her last months in office focused on pet public safety projects including a mobile identification system that will allow police to identify suspects in the field and an enhanced inter-agency communication system for local police and fire departments.

Uilkema has represented the Martinez area for most of her supervisoral career. She is the mother of two grown daughters, one of whom is a Deputy District Attorney and the other is a family practice physician in San Diego.

Originally from Detroit, Uilkema was a vocational education major at the University of Michigan when she moved her young family to Lafayette, serving on city commissions before winning a seat on the City Council in 1978.

She was elected to the first of four terms on the board of supervisors representing District 2, which until this year included Martinez, in 1996. The new district includes Lafayette, Moraga, Danville and Walnut Creek. 

Sally Morgan May 21, 2012 at 07:40 AM
Gayle will be greatly missed. We were privileged to have her as our honorary chair of the Contra Costa Animal Welfare Coalitions first symposium on The Connection Between Domestic Violence and Animal Abuse. She was one of the few who listened and didn't play the " your three minutes are up" game! She helped our message to be heard on this critical topic and on the urging of this County to have a coordinated cross reporting system between animal services of neglect & abuse cases, and related County offices such as police, juvenile and adult social services, District Attorney's office and other relevant departments. Unfortunately , this County still has not implemented this. Sally Morgan Welch Co- Chair of the Contra Costa Animal Welfare Coalition
Cheryll May 21, 2012 at 01:26 PM
I am so sorry to hear about Gail's recent passing. She was very responsive to issues related to Mt.View (an area of unicorporated Martinez) and public health & safety and quality of life here. I was privlaged to serve as her delegate on the Economic Opportunity Council for 9 years. I wish I could have had a chance to say good bye. My prayers and well wishes go out to her family and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to know her.
Kathi McLaughlin May 21, 2012 at 10:14 PM
Gayle was a wonderful person, a dedicated public servant, and a great friend to Martinez Unified, especially to Las Juntas Elementary. She appointed me to several terms on the Contra Costa Mental Health Commission and was always interested in helping and representing those with mental health issues and their families. As someone said to me today, "She was a classy lady". I couldn't agree more. We will miss her.
Dick Duncan May 22, 2012 at 05:16 PM
Gayle will be missed as a great lady and a dedicated public servant. She was the epitome of what an elected official should be in representing her constituency. Always willing to listen, giving unselfishly of her time and talent and demonstrating an uncanny ability to find answers. A very classy lady of the utmost integrity who will be sorely missed by all with whom she came in contact.

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