Gail O’Connor passed away Jan. 20, 2024, in Cañon City, Colo., with her son by her side. Primarily of Irish descent, Gail was born Aug. 29, 1936, in San Diego, Calif., and fondly remembered summers with her beloved cousins and Grandmother Brown at Blue Eyes Mine in California’s Gold Country.
Gail met her future husband Greg Minor in high school in Auburn, Calif., and they later relocated to the Bay Area and raised three children: Mark, Lisa, and Tani. Beginning in 1976, Gail and Greg traveled to nearly every continent together, supporting anti-nuclear causes, while forming lifelong friendships through social justice pursuits and environmental activism.
Gail found her vocational calling in the healing arts as a Reiki, acupressure, and Zero Balancing practitioner. Gail brought a special spiritual presence to her healings that were transformative to many. She sought spiritual guidance and self-healing through respite into the wilderness, striving to learn as much about the natural and spiritual worlds as she could in this lifetime. One of her fondest memories was rafting the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon. She felt at peace amongst the mountains, even climbing Mt. Wilson at the age of 61. She flourished until her mid-eighties in her beloved log cabin amongst the Continental Divide at 9,000 feet until she could no longer. Gail possessed a will of steel that belonged in the wilds of the American West.
Her lifelong journey and adventuring toward “home” found her through a trip with friends to the Colorado Rocky Mountains. She knew the day she arrived in Creede that it would be her forever home. Becoming a patron, volunteer and supporter of Creede Repertory Theatre, she proudly and elegantly displayed an extensive collection of vintage clothing and finery annually for many years to raise money for CRT. She was a proud member of the Ladies Aid Society and was known for her fine sewing, quilting and knitting skills, which she donated to many causes and persons throughout her life. Gail championed many local artists/friends through building her art collection and hosting many events in her dining room with delicious, indulgent meals, good conversation, and her particularly mouth-watering European-inspired baked goods (often with a rousing song in the background) and her furry companion at her feet. One of her proudest titles was the “Mountain Lion Lady” born from a fateful meeting with a big cat one winter’s night traveling home from an evening out with friends.
Gail was transformative and created the world she wanted to live in: a woman who could conjure the most romantic, erudite spaces and then wake up and stack wood. She was in a category all her own. She celebrated the uniqueness of each person. Gail loved people without exception. She embraced being a student of life while simultaneously possessing a wisdom fit for a family matriarch.
Our family is forever grateful for those souls enveloping Gail in their love and treating her like their Creede family. Gail’s memory will live on through these loved ones and the many living relatives of her three children: Mark Minor of Howard, Colo., Lisa Buckey of Capitola, Calif., and Tani Scheiner of Santa Rosa, Calif. Her beloved grandchildren will also carry her legacy: Jessica Buckley of Santa Cruz, Calif., Alyssa Machado (Sean) of Boulder Creek, Calif., along with two beloved great-grandchildren Alaina and Emmett, Evan Kolar of Corralitos, Calif., Sam Scheiner of Santa Rosa, Calif., Jake Scheiner (Amanda) of Pearland, Texas, Sophie (Alex) Baldry of Knutsford, UK, Seth Minor of San Diego, Calif., and Nathaniel Minor of Durango, Colo. She is survived by her sisters-in-law Sue Bird of Oregon and Michelle Minor of Vancouver, Canada.
A memorial/celebration of her life will be held in Creede sometime this summer.