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Gail Mathilda Ungstad

October 25, 1958 ~ December 23, 2022 (age 64) 64 Years Old

Gail Ungstad Obituary

Gail passed away on December 23, 2022, at the University of Alberta Hospital from cancer. She was only 64 years old. She received excellent care from the staff and doctors while in the University of Alberta Hospital as well as the Slave Lake Hospital.

Gail was born on October 25, 1958, at the Royal Alex Hospital in Edmonton. In 1961 the family moved to the Ungstad family farm NW of Ponoka, where she grew up. Education was very important to Gail. After completing high school in Ponoka, Gail obtained two bachelor’s degrees and two master’s degrees, from
the University of Alberta, University of Calgary, Graceland University USA, and Loma Linda University out of Lacombe.

Gail cared about people and her work reflected this. She worked as a Deputy Juvenile Officer, Kansas City, Missouri in 1980, Probation Officer 1981-86 in Slave Lake, Single Men’s Hostel Consultant; Child Welfare; Social Services; Therapist with Northland Family Counselling, Aboriginal Training and Development Consultant as well as other on-line consulting positions. After retiring as a government employee, she focused on counselling, including counselling survivors of residential schools.

Dave and Gail were neighbours in Slave Lake, and they became friends. They were married in the Community of Christ Church, Edmonton, March 21, 1998. The 21st of March was selected since it was the equinox and it symbolized that their marriage would be an equal partnership. All their nieces and nephews were part of the service. The reception was at Namao Hall with many family members and neighbors helping with the service and attending the banquet.

Gail was very active and athletic. She always credited Ms. Farrington, her physical education teacher at PCHS as she taught healthy living and being fit for life. Gail entered over 50 races, Triathlons, and Half-Ironman competitions, beginning with the March for Millions in 1979 when she ran 30k, then the 1988, Skagway to Whitehorse race with 8 people running over 108 miles. She completed many Triathlon competitions which consisted of a two km swim, a 90 km bike ride, and then a 21 km run. Her last Triathlon was July 2022 in St Albert. Dave and some family members volunteered at many races, handing out water and cheering on Gail. She loved biking with her Cervelo racing bike.

Gail began climbing mountains with Charlene Prickett. Her comments were, “It stretches my limits, I meet terrific, inspiring & wonderful people, spectacular mountain scenery and I keep coming back again and again.” She loved climbing the Three Sister Mountains and even named a rock in her rock garden, “the Three Sisters.” She climbed every mountain peak around Lake Louise, including Mount Temple.

Her favorite place was Lake Louise. She loved camping there every summer with Dave and other family members. In August 2022, Peter Chris, Joan, Brooke, and Dorothy all camped at Lake Louise with Gail and Dave. It was a wonderful time. Gail was always very friendly, talking to everyone she met. She was on a first name basis with many people including the owner and staff at Wilson Mountain Sports & Bikes, at the Lake Louise Village. In 2015, Gail talked Dave, Dorothy, Brooke, and Joan into hiking to the Lake Agnes Tea House by Lake Louise. She also convinced Peter, Chris, Lorie-Ann and Gunner to climb the Burchess Shale, a 14-hour hike. She had climbed it 3 times. The family were challenged with the climbs.

Gail was always interested in Politics. In the spring of 2021, she mentioned that she would seek the NDP nomination as a candidate for Peace River-Westlock Electoral District. She asked her mother, (who was Conservative) if she would support her and her mother said yes. Gail campaigned all over the area which meant driving for 7 or 8 hours to some northern regions. The election was held September 20, 2021. Gail came in second with 6,019 votes. A good result.

Gail was also active in her community, hosting with Dave and baking cookies with neighbourhood children on Family Day (sometimes 31), involved with Cross fit, United Way Northwest, Slave Lake Native Friendship Centre, Santa Anonymous, Al-Anon, T Ball Coach, organized the Jingle Bell Run, treasurer of Slave Lake Musical Theatre Society as well as others. Gail received numerous medals for her races as well as the Platinum Jubilee medal for her more than thirty-year involvement with the United Way AB Northwest.

After her surgery she was unable to talk but she wrote topics on a dry erase board that she wanted people to talk to her about, including politics, family and farming. When people said they would pray for her she texted them to pray for World Peace not for her.

Gail will be remembered for her love for David, of life, of being active, the love she had for her family and friends and the connections she made with so many, many, people.

Gail leaves to mourn her beloved husband David Symington, her mother Dorothy Ungstad, two sisters Eileen (Dan) and Joan (Gerry), two brothers Wayne and Peter (Christine), in-laws Alex and Carol, Bruce, Murray, Duncan and Craig, many precious nieces and nephews, numerous cousins, and special cousins
in Norway - Lorie-Ann, (Gunner), Michele (Dag), and Sandra. 

Dearly loved, dearly missed.

A Funeral Service to celebrate Gail's life will be held at the Ponoka Funeral Home at 11:00 a.m. on Tuesday, January 3, 2023 with a Memorial Reception to follow.  The Interment Service will be held later in the day at Forest Home Cemetery in Ponoka.  The Funeral Service live-stream and recording link can be found below.

Memorial donations are gratefully accepted to the United Way or the Canadian Cancer Society.


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Funeral Service
January 3, 2023

11:00 AM
Ponoka Funeral Home
5115-50th Avenue
Ponoka, Alberta T4J 1R5


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