Janice Gayle Luedke was born May 5, 1928 to Harry and Violet Shetler of the Geneva area of Bellingham. She attended local schools, graduating from Whatcom High School in 1945. Gayle attended the Bible Institute of Los Angeles (BIOLA) for a short time, but returned home to care for her dying mother and her two younger sisters Joan and Jere’.
In 1950 Gayle met Herbert Morell, and after a whirlwind courtship they married, then both attended BIOLA. Together they were Charter Members of Immanuel Bible Church. Wanting a large family, they had 5 children in under 6 years. When the oldest was nearing school age, they recognized a need for an interdenominational Christian school in the county. Joining with other families, they formed and later built Bellingham Christian School on Sunset Drive.
In 1965 the Lord took Herbert home. To support her young family, Gayle taught Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grades at the Christian School, remodeled and sold houses, and raised beef and huge gardens. One year she canned over 800 jars of produce as she regularly found visiting Missionaries or struggling families to invite home for a substantial meal. She also reached out to needy children as a Foster Parent, or simply offered a safe home to others.
In 1976 Gayle married widower Leonard Luedke, a longtime family friend and co-founder of the Christian School. Together they made two extended mission trips to the Philippines, and continued to serve in various capacities at the churches they attended.
Gayle’s lifelong loves included gardening, family get-togethers, volunteering for church and other charities, hosting guests in her home, and each and every one of her growing family. Gayle was generous to a fault.
In lieu of flowers or gifts, memorials may be made to some of Gayle’s favorite charities:
Paul Morell (Grandson). YWAM Missionary to Thailand: 4200 Sweet Rd, Blaine, WA 98230
The Firs (where she was saved) 4605 Cable St, Bellingham, WA 98229
Starfish Ministries 1706 Front St. #440, Lynden, WA 98264