Gayle Marie Bartels, 80, died Saturday, Aug. 26, 2023. She was born on July 13, 1943, to Robert Aubrey Bone and Elise Marie (Madere) Bone in New Orleans.
Gayle moved to Houston (Sharpstown) when she was 16 years old and attended Marion High School. After a double date with another couple, Gayle with John and her friend Carolyn with a boy named Ray, she realized she really liked Ray.
She ended up marrying her sweetheart Charles “Ray” Bartels. They attended the University of Southwestern Louisiana, today known as the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She went only a few semesters, then decided college wasn’t for her and took a job to help support the couple as Ray completed his degree.
They moved back to Houston and started a family with their son, Little Ray, and daughter, Laure. One of Little Ray’s and Laure’s favorite memories of their mom was riding in her little Volkswagen Beetle and her ability to drive around Sharpstown, windows down, radio playing, a cigarette in one hand, a Tab cola in the other and shifting the gears all at the same time.
In the late 1970s, Big Ray had an opportunity to open Columbus Welding Equipment in Columbus, so Gayle helped pack up and move the family. In that new business, Gayle did the bookkeeping, took care of the kids and made a home.
Also in that small town she found horses.
Her love of equines kept her active with trail riding, logging many miles with the Valley Lodge Trailriders; women’s horse clubs such as Ladies of Texas Tradition, or LOTT; and just riding with friends for pleasure. She truly had a kindred spirit with horses.
Gayle also had many other hobbies. With her impressive sewing skills, she handmade every single one of Laure’s formal dresses for proms and parties during high school and college. She learned crocheting from Mrs. Lee Barten and made lovely throw blankets.
Gayle found a recipe card on a New Orleans streetcar many years ago for pralines, which became her trademark. Her family would anxiously wait for her to hand out the tins of pralines each Christmas. She truly was the only one who could make them taste as delicious as they did.
She enjoyed having a cocktail on the “veranda” with Big Ray every evening where she’d watch the hummingbirds and wait for “Dumplin,” a little white-tailed deer she fed each day until it was almost tame enough to eat from her hand. And Gayle especially loved her Prowler car she nicknamed the “Prowla” in the accent only she could do. She enjoyed the Prowler car club she and Ray belonged to and the drives and adventures they would take with good friends.
Her grandchildren, Brett, Emma and Taylor, still talk about staying with Grandma and Papa at what Gayle liked to call “Camp Run-amok” and eat a hot dog wrapped in a paper towel — a Grandma Gayle delicacy that no one else could duplicate.
Her smile, laugh, sometimes tears and her funny sayings will be dearly missed.
Survivors include her daughter Laure Restivo and husband Rick of Columbus; daughter- in- law Pat Bartels of Columbus; grandson Brett Bartels and wife Brittney of Kingwood; granddaughter Emma Restivo of Grapevine; granddaughter Taylor Bartels of Austin; and great-grandson, Noah Bryson Bartels.
She also is survived by her sisters, Peggy Shubert and husband Bob of Richmond; Dianne Miller and husband Eldon of Mooresville, North Carolina; and brother Robert Bone and wife Susie of Alpharetta, Georgia.
Gayle was preceded in death by her parents, her husband and her son Ray L. Bartels.
Visitation is 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 31, at Henneke Funeral Home, 1515 Montezuma St. in Columbus.
Memorials may be given to PUPS, 1884 Bostik Road, Cat Spring, TX 78933 or Columbus Rescue Dogs, 1798 Frelsburg Road, Cat Spring, TX 78933.
Online condolences may be given at www.hennekefuneralhome.com.