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Obituary of Gay Dell-Howard
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Gay Dell-Howard of Columbus, died Sunday, February 28, 2021, on the final day of her 88th year. 

Born March 1, 1932, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, she was the daughter of the late Lawrence and Helyn (Anderson; deceased in Gay's early childhood) Wade, and the stepdaughter of the late Velva Wade. Gay loved and wed Arden Shambaugh, Victor Jaszai, Donald Dell, and lastly in her twilight years, Floyd Howard. Gay was preceded in death by all but one of her husbands.  

Gay was an innovator. Acquiring a profound hearing disability as a young child, she became skilled at filling in the blanks and making it work. 

Gay graduated West High School Class of 1950, where she won awards for Math. While she attended The Ohio State University, she was active on the Women's Rifle Team. She completed her higher education at Capital University, where she earned dual Bachelor's Degrees in Fine Arts and Education K-12 in 1972 as a single, working mother of four. Gay was a lifelong, avid learner who valued reading and writing and cherished the arts above all. She held many jobs which intersected with education and the arts; teaching art, working for Highlights for Children, and later breaking ground as the first female Art Director for Blum & Bruce Advertising Agency back in the '50's when this was unheard of. In many ways, she was ahead of her time. She was a talented quilter and designer, and, in the '80's the independent, family business owner of Quilts & Stuff in German Village with her husband Don, where she taught quilting and invented specialized quilting hoops. Gay held a configuration of goods trademark on the Hoop-de-Deux, or "D-Hoop", which were handmade by Don in the basement of the family shop and purchased by quilters around the world. She continued adapting quilting hoops and held a patent on her Cinch Hoop design. In the '90's, she frequented Larry's open mic poetry night with her teenaged daughter, and both were residents of Milo Arts where they created various art and performed as poets. Gay loved a good challenge; she was curious, playful, witty, adventurous, tenacious, loyal, and very, very stubborn. A pistol. A character. An original. Gay painted and sculpted as well, and she endeavored to instill a love of the arts in her children. She greatly enjoyed traveling for her business and pleasure to nearly all 50 states as well as most of Europe: sometimes dragging a petulant teenager along, sometimes excitedly discovering far away shores with her elder daughter. She loved to try new things, to savor the rich variety of life. She never passed an opportunity to try new foods and introduced her children to many interesting culinary experiments. She could bake a great cheesecake and made the best custard. How talented her hands were! Gay was one woman but held many stations in this life and meant incalculable things to those who loved her. She adored her grandchildren. Inspired by memories from the lives of her children, grandchildren, and her very doted-upon Basset Hound, "Sniffer," Gay authored and self-published several children's stories. She also wrote and self-published three chapbooks of poetry. 

Gay was preceded in death by her beloved son Peter Jaszai, in 1992, and was moved to create a square for the A.I.D.S. Quilt (along with her daughter, Pati) in his honor. Gay is survived by her remaining children, Gary Shambaugh, Patricia "Pati" Shambaugh, Mark Dell, Helyn (Anthony) Marshall; grandchildren, Andrew and Erin Dell, and Vivian Marshall; step-children; cousins: Norton Kollmann, Lois (Kollmann) Walker, and their families; close friend of the family, Dorian Wallace; and the many other friends she made along the way, as mom never knew a stranger.


Her daughters, Pati and Helyn are so grateful they were able to be bedside with their mother in her last moments and extend many thanks to Dani and Leon, the amazing Hospice Nurses who provided expert, loving care, and made mom as comfortable as possible in her brief stay at Hospice of Central Ohio, a non-profit hospice providing inpatient services at OSU University Hospital.


Gay donated her body to science, believing that even in death, she could help someone learn something new and possibly help others.

Family and friends are encouraged to create something with their hands to add to the beauty of this world in memory of Gay. A private celebration of her life for family will be scheduled at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions are suggested to the Hospice of Central Ohio at www.hospiceofcentralohio.org/donate/



Gay as a child.


This is a final picture (2006) of Mom's running joke with Karey Bresenham of Quilts, Inc. that started at the first Quilt Europa in 1988. The tag line for each shot of Mom being "carted off" by police at every stop on the tour, and subsequent quilt shows was "And you thought I was behaving myself"... this is in Avignon France.


2015 with her eldest son on Mothers Day.


3 Generations - Mom, youngest daughter and granddaughter in 2014.

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