Barbara Gay Utzinger

Barbara Gay Utzinger

Barbara Gay Utzinger

Barbara Gay (Kendall) Utzinger, age 92, passed away March 8, 2011 at the Central Washington Hospital in Wenatchee.

Gay was born on Feb. 9, 1919 in Caldwell, Idaho to Everett and Florence Kendall. The following year the family moved to Horse Springs Coulee near Tonasket. In 1922, Everett moved his family once again to the property four miles northwest of Tonasket where Gay lived nearly all her life.

After graduating from Tonasket High School in 1936, Gay attended Cheney Normal College (Eastern Washington University). She graduated from college in 1939 and began her teaching career in Fairfield, Wash. In 1941, Gay married John Utzinger and they lived in Seattle where their son, Larry was born a year later. They moved back to the Okanogan Valley after a couple of years and their daughter, Donna, was born in 1945. They moved to Gay’s childhood home in 1947 to help run the Kendall orchard and continued to live there for the rest of their lives. Gay’s teaching career of 30 years ranged from a one-room schoolhouse at Lemanasky Lake, to the fourth grade at Tonasket Elementary School and finally the Migrant Education Program. Her dedication to her profession served as an inspiration to encourage others to pursue careers in education. Both John and Gay had a life long passion for gardening and generously shared the results of their hard work with friends and neighbors. In addition to Gay’s love of gardening, she enjoyed playing bridge, bowling and a variety of volunteer activities, including the nursing home, the food bank and the Okanogan County Museum. In retirement, Gay enjoyed a wide variety of trips across the nation and to many different countries. She and John, along with friends, went on cruises to the Caribbean, Mexico, Central and South America. She visited Hawaii several times where she had good friends and took a trip up the Eastern Seaboard into Quebec with John for her 50th wedding anniversary. She also took pleasure in a trip to Reno twice a year and visiting the local casino in Okanogan. Gay was known as a woman with a tireless work ethic and a zest for life. She had a mischievous streak and had been known to instigate and participate in numerous pranks. She was loyal and dependable for both family and friends. Gay was a dedicated wife, mother, grandmother and friend. She will be missed by all.

She is survived by her children: Larry Utzinger of Tonasket, Donna Bond of Cheney and Bruce Nielsen of Monmouth, Ore.; nine grandchildren and fifteen great grandchildren.

Gay was preceded in death by her husband, John in 2007; her sister, Marjorie Ridpath; and brothers Larry Kendall and Keith Kendall.

Graveside services will be held Saturday, June 25, 2011 at 10 a.m. at the Tonasket Cemetery. Memorial services will follow at 11 a.m. at the Tonasket Community Church with Pastor Leon Alden, officiating. Memorials may be made to Tonasket Elementary School Library Fund in care of the district office. Please share your memories and sign Gay’s online guest book at

Bergh Funeral Service Oroville/Tonasket in care of arrangements.