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Elected to the Lafayette City Council in 1978 and the Board of Supervisors in 1996, Uilkema sat on many local and regional policy boards. Notably, she was a founding member of County Connection transit agency, where she remained on its board until her death. She may be best remembered for her ubiquitous presence meant as a show of support at the countless “citizen of the year” dinners, ribbon-cuttings and other community events. “It was her life,” said her daughter, Lynn. “Even when she was sick and housebound, she was listening to hearings in her bedroom and calling her office. Right to the end, public service was very important to her.” how long do ballet slippers last uk online.
Uilkema unwittingly launched her public career in the early 1970s how long do ballet slippers last uk online. Frustrated when she couldn’t find a ballet class in Lafayette for her young daughters where they could dance in colorful butterfly costumes, she got involved in the city’s park and recreation commission. In retrospect, her political trajectory was an obvious path for the bright woman who was a self-admitted public policy addict. Born in Detroit in 1938, Uilkema entered the University of Michigan on a full scholarship at age 16..
She came to California in the 1960s and taught typing and shorthand at Oakland Technical High School until her children were born. She and her husband, John, divorced in an ugly split in 1990. “For many people, a situation like hers would have been crippling,” said the late supervisor’s sorority sister Beverly Wyllie, who described her friend as a role model for women. “But not Gayle. She simply picked herself up by her bootstraps. It never defined her.” how long do ballet slippers last uk online. While serving on the Lafayette council, Uilkema had earned her master’s in public administration. She parlayed her education into university teaching posts..
With Wyllie’s help, Uilkema won her first and only competitive county supervisor race in 1996. She took to the job like a duck to water. “She was the grand dame of the board,” said Contra Costa Assessor Gus Kramer how long do ballet slippers last uk online. “Gayle loved her job, and loved being out in the community and talking about the issues.”. Uilkema advocated for many issues, including a common East Bay emergency responders’ radio system, mammograms for the poor and programs to help the elderly track medications..
A lifelong Republican, she stood her ground against withering criticism of her support for a ban on 50-caliber rifles and a taxpayer-funded girls’ residential treatment center. She even voted to ban smoking at outdoor restaurants in the county, a habit she practiced herself at the time. “Gayle could surprise you,” said Supervisor John Gioia of Richmond, who served with her for the past 16 years. “But she was typically very cautious how long do ballet slippers last uk online. She saw policy in terms of incremental change.”..