Gayle Edwina Helmke

August 21, 2012

By Contributor

Gayle Helmke

My sweet wife Gayle Edwina Helmke passed away Saturday morning Aug. 11 after a two-year battle with cancer.

Gayle was born Jan. 10, 1957, on an Army base in Japan to Kenneth Bruce Yeisley and Mieko Kobayashi Yeisley. As a child she lived in a number of locations, including Germany, Kentucky, California and Tacoma. The family settled in Issaquah, where Kenneth Yeisley’s family had deep roots.

Gayle attended Clark Elementary School in Issaquah, and graduated from Seaside High School in California. After returning to Issaquah, she attended then-Bellevue Community College and earned an associate degree. Gayle worked at Rocket Research Co. (now Aerojet) in Redmond for 17 years in their Technical Publications department. This is also where I met Gayle and fell in love with her.

We married in 1985 and moved to Carnation, where we lived for four years before settling in Maple Valley in 1990. Gayle and I started a contracting business here in order for her to stay home and raise our two children.

Gayle enjoyed gardening, genealogy research, crafts and camping. Gayle’s entire life focused on her family in one way or another, from taking care of her four sisters at a young age to spoiling and adoring our first grandchild. You only had to meet Gayle once to know she was a sweet, selfless person who always went the extra mile. Her endless patience, love and dedication were truly inspirational. Words cannot relay how much she will be missed.

Gayle is survived by her mother Mieko and father Ken, of Issaquah; and sisters Lillian and husband JD, of Renton, Doris and husband Dale, of Renton, Angel and husband Chris, of Ravensdale, and Jennifer and husband Doug, of Sedro Woolley.

Gayle is also survived by nephews and nieces Joshua (wife Heidi), Melissa, Justin (wife Kelci), Kenneth, Shylla, Angie, Jennifer, Matt, Aaron and Amber. Lastly, she is survived by her son Brendon with wife Amanda and daughter Molly; her daughter Amanda with husband Dustin; and myself, Bjorn, her husband of 27 years.

Not a day will go by without our love for you and cherishing the time we had to spend with you.

At Gayle’s request, we will have a family gathering to honor her life.

In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to the American Cancer Society in her name.

Please visit to share a memory and sign the family’s guestbook.

Bookmark and Share
Other Stories of Interest:


Got something to say?

Before you comment, please note:

  • These comments are moderated.
  • Comments should be relevant to the topic at hand and contribute to its discussion.
  • Personal attacks and/or excessive profanity will not be tolerated and such comments will not be approved.
  • This is not your personal chat room or forum, so please stay on topic.