Gay Jokl Greenspan
November 3, 2018

Gay Jokl Greenspan


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Graveside Service
Hebrew Cemetery
Corner of East 2nd and East Madison Street
Brownsville, TX  78520
Monday, November 5, 2018
10:00 A.M.
Map & Directions  Map & Directions

Send FlowersSend Flowers
Hebrew Cemetery
Corner of East 2nd and East Madison Street
Brownsville, TX  78520
Map & Directions  Map & Directions

A loving daughter, sister, wife and mother, Gay Jokl Greenspan passed away at age 70 on November 3, 2018. Born in Dallas to Jerome and Fay Jokl, Gay Alice and her family moved to Brownsville in 1956, having purchased Palm Village Pharmacy. Gay was a member of the last full class to graduate from the Old Brownsville High School in 1966, and went on to Sam Houston State University, where she served as editor of the Yearbook and received her B.A in English in 1970. After a successful stint as the head cosmetics buyer for Lord & Taylor in the Houston Galleria, Gay returned home to care for her mother after her father passed away in 1978. In, 1980 she married Henry Greenspan after a short relationship that started with a “pity date” for his birthday only 5 months prior. Henry & Gay went on to run Gay-Lar Jewels on Central Blvd as they started their life together living next to Gay’s mom on Palmetto Court. In May 1984, they welcomed their only son Jerry Greenspan who now resides in Houston.

Gay believed in starting every day with a mental exercise; her family would always wake up to her with a cup of coffee and the crossword puzzle from the Herald already filled out. A passionate advocate for public service and education, Gay was the last person to be asked directly by Mrs. Gladys Porter to serve on the Zoo board, which she did with humility and honor. After moving to Poplar Dr. in 1988, she successfully won a seat on the Brownsville ISD School Board with the slogan “Putting Children First.” She routinely told Jerry public education was the “silver bullet” and that her run for public office was not about his education but rather that of the rest of the community’s children. After her term on the school board, Gay stayed busy helping organize and fundraise for PTAs and Chess Clubs at Russell Elementary & Stell Middle School while administering the Marilyn Burns Memorial Scholarship. After the jewelry store, Gay went on to become the Executive Director of Temple Beth El in Brownsville, serving as the only full-time non-clergy staff at the synagogue for 16 years before her retirement from both that position and the head of the Sunday/Hebrew School. A lifetime member of the Zionist Women’s Organization Hadassah, Gay spent countless hours working to enhance the quality of Jewish life in Brownsville, serving on the Temple Board for years while continuing to run a disciplined household where education came first.

An amazing cook in her own right, Gay could otherwise be found enjoying lunch at Lotus Inn on the Expressway, New York Deli, or Antonio’s, and found great comfort in the food and relationships with Papa, Rose, Greg and Mike at Gio’s Italian Restaurant on Central Blvd.

Gay is preceded in death by her parents and her beloved pups – Macho & Mister (Lhasa Apsos), and Sparky (Dalmatian). She is survived by Henry, Jerry, and her older brother Larry Jokl of Brownsville, someone with whom she always had a healthy sibling rivalry with but was immensely proud of for his service to our country in Vietnam and his dedication to the Brownsville community.

A graveside service will be held at the Brownsville Hebrew Cemetery on Monday, November 5, 2018 at 10:00 A.M. To honor Gay’s memory, the family is encouraging donations to the Alzheimer’s Association via their website, www.alz.org.

Condolences(5)

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  1. Bill Hudson
    Brownsville, TX

    Rest in Peace, Sweet Gay. You were a bright light in my life. Thanks for all that you did for our community. It was an honor and a joy to know you. Prayers with all the family. Fare well, Lady Gay.

  2. Ron Humphreys
    Brownsville, TX

    Goodbye dear friend and classmate. You are missed.
    My deepest and sincerest thoughts and prayers are with you and your Family.
    Ron Humphreys

  3. Leticia Valentin Barrentine
    Denver, NC

    My sincerest condolences to the family. Rest in peace, Gay! You gave life a good run.

  4. Leticia Valentin Barrentine
    Denver, NC

    My sincerest condolences to the family. Rest in peace, Gay! You gave life a good run.

  5. Carol Armendariz
    San Antonio, TX

    I was so sorry to hear of Gay's passing. I feel privileged to have known her. I pray comfort for all of her family in the days to come.

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