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Gale B. Schmidt

Grantham, N.H. — Gale B. Schmidt, age 69, died on Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014, at her home in Grantham. Gale was born to the late Stanley and Lillis Bunce on Sept. 2, 1944, in Summit, N.J. She grew up with her brother and sister in rural Grafton, N.Y., where they attended a one-room schoolhouse. While attending Allegheny College in Meadville, Pa., she met her husband, Andrew R. Schmidt, Jr., and they married in 1966. Gale earned an MS in microbiology from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 1970. Gale and Andy settled in Slingerlands, N.Y., where they raised two children. Gale spent most of her career at the Wadsworth Laboratory of the New York State Department of Health in Albany, N.Y., until they retired to Grantham in 2001. During the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, Gale’s work in public health concentrated on developing the Western Blot diagnostic test for HIV-1 antibodies. She authored several journal articles on this research. This HIV diagnostic method is still practiced today.

Many who knew Gale may remember her most for her dedication to responsible stewardship of our natural environment. She actively promoted environmentalism and sustainable development in her community. She successfully advocated for LEED certification building standards for the South Cove Activity Center near her Eastman home. The building received a gold standard rating and is recognized throughout the state as a model of “green” construction.

As a member of the Grantham Village School Board, she believed in the power of education to create opportunity and encouraged science education for elementary school students through the discovery of their natural world. Gale loved to share her wonder at the natural beauty around us. Many value her knowledge and enthusiasm for regional wildflowers and ferns, gardening, and wetland ecology, which she has passed on. Gale also enjoyed wilderness camping, winter sports and lake activities with Eastman friends.

Gale is survived by her husband, Andy, a state representative from Grantham, and her children, Carl, of Charlottesville, Va., and Susan Barreault, of Toulouse, France, and a granddaughter, Lillis Barreault, also of Toulouse.

A celebration of Gale’s life will be held at the South Cove Activity Center in Eastman on Saturday, March 22, at 4 p.m. Family and friends are invited to share memories and to join in the celebration of Gale’s life.

The family welcomes donations in Gale’s memory to the Grantham School District, 300 Rte.10, Grantham, NH, 03753: Attention: Gale Schmidt Outdoor Classroom.