Mary Louise Gayle was a longtime Virginia Beach public works employee who was killed along with 10 of her co-workers and a contractor when a gunman opened fire at the city’s Municipal Center office building on May 31. The shooter was also a city public works employee.
Gayle, 65, was a Virginia Beach resident. You can read about the other 11 victims of the mass shooting here. She was born Mary Louise Crutsinger on May 19, 1954, as the daughter of Robert Crutsinger and the late Carol Crutsinger. She worked as a right-of-way agent in the Virginia Beach Public Works office.
She Worked for the Virginia Beach Public Works Department for More Than 24 Years
Mary Lou Crutsinger Gayle graduated from Frank W. Cox High School in Virginia Beach in 1972, according to her Facebook page. She had worked for the Virginia Beach Public Works Department in her hometown for 24 years as a right-of-way agent. In that role, she specialized in dealing with property and land rights.
A former co-worker, Debbie Mazzarell Hubbard, wrote on Facebook, “I am heartbroken to learn of the passing of Mary Lou Crutsinger Gayle in the senseless shooting in Virginia Beach yesterday. My thoughts and prayers go out to her family, friends and co-workers. We worked together in Virginia Beach for 10 years and I always admired her, she was a very special lady and will truly be missed by many, I know I will miss her Facebook posts showing her love for her family. RIP Mary Lou.”
Tamara Morton wrote on Facebook, “My heart is heavy, as I worked for the City of Virginia Beach for 10 years where I built relationships down at the municipal center. I am praying for all the families, employees, first responders, friends, and for our City. Mary Lou Crutsinger Gayle you will be missed. You were more than a co-worker; you were my Friend!”
She Was a Mother of 3 & a Grandmother
Mary Gayle is survived by her father, her four siblings and her three children. She was also a grandmother, according to her Facebook page, which was filled with photos of her enjoying time with her family.
Gayle’s daughter wrote on Facebook asking for privacy and prayers. She also shared this YouTube video, saying it was one of her mother’s favorite gospel songs:
Another family member wrote, “Words can’t describe this feeling. Thank you for all the love and support and prayers for my family. It truly means so much and is helping us start to navigate this incredibly difficult time. ❤️”
Friends Remembered Gayle as a ‘Beautiful’ Person With a ‘Wonderful Personality’
Kenneth Ashby, Mary Gayle’s friend, wrote on Facebook, “Yesterday’s senseless shooting (as if there was such a thing as a sensible one) in Virginia Beach just became very personal for me…I knew one of the victims, Mary Lou Gayle. Mary Lou was a happy person…she was a good person. She loved her family and she loved life. A few years ago when she traveled to California on business, all she could think about was stepping in the Pacific so she could say she touched both oceans in the same day. The pictures she sent back weren’t of a mature woman walking on the beach but of a middle aged kid dancing in the surf. Mary Lou will be missed by all who knew her…”
An August 2015 photo shows Gayle running into the water with her arms in the air. She wrote in the comments, “I just got my feet wet. It was my first and only time putting my feet in the Pacific Ocean which was on my bucket list!”
Tributes from friends poured in on Facebook the day after Gayle’s death, with many remembering her as a beloved member of the Virginia Beach community.
Beth Highton Carter wrote on Facebook, “Sadly my high school friend, Mary Lou Crutsinger Gayle, succumbed to her injuries. Please send love and light to my friend’s family of children, grandchildren and siblings. She contacted me privately a couple of years ago with so many positive thoughts and words about the work I’ve been doing for all people. RIP Mary Lou.”
Sharon Roberson Boudreau wrote, “Mary Lou Crutsinger Gayle. A kind and generous soul, tailgate buddy, and now an angel in Heaven. My heart is heavy and goes out to the Crutsinger family.”
Lynn Munden Leonard said on Facebook, “My prayers go out to all of her family and friends, especially to her children and grandchildren..She was a wonderful lovely lady and so very kind with a wonderful personality..she will be missed greatly..Please keep her and her family in your prayers.”
Lenore Dona Lefton wrote on Facebook, “Please tell me this isn’t true. One of my kindest, sweetest friends since we were kids. I am in shock. Crying, numb.”