R. Gayle Layfield, a retired Friends School official who worked in fundraising, died of cancer Feb. 1 at her North Baltimore home. She was 64.
Born Ruth Gayle Layfield in Richmond, Va., she was a 1966 graduate of the Collegiate School, where she was class president and played sports. She earned a bachelor of arts degree at Hollins College, where she was active on the trustee and alumnae boards. She also received a master's degree from the Johns Hopkins University.
After moving to Baltimore in the mid-1970s, she was an English teacher at Roland Park Country School, where she was also director of admissions and worked in development.
While her daughter attended Friends School, she was its Parents Association president and a member of the trustees board. She went on to become the school's director of development in 1994 and was later the school's assistant head for development. She retired in June 2012.
"Her belief in the school motivated people to dig a little deeper," said Friends' head, Matthew W. Micciche. "She transformed the development office and the culture of philanthropy here."
He recalled her as a classic Southern "steel magnolia" and remembered her "refinement, grace and class on the outside" and said she was "tough as nails in the best sense." He said she was a determined advocate for the school.
"She lit up a room when she was in it," Mr. Micciche said. "She had a love of life and an exuberance. She was also very good at listening and then conveying what was unique and special about Friends."
Ms. Layfield also enjoyed reading and spent her summers at Deltaville, Va., where her parents had a home.
"Her focus outside of her job was her children," said her son, Daniel Layfield Latshaw of Washington, D.C. "I can't remember a single school event that she ever missed. She had many close friends and loved to entertain at the holidays."
A memorial celebration of life will be held at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday at Second Presbyterian Church, 4200 St. Paul St., where she was a member.
In addition to her son, survivors include a daughter, Jane Layfield Lancaster of Rodgers Forge; a brother, Thomas Gaylon Layfield III of Richmond; and two granddaughters. Her 1975 marriage to Robert Latshaw ended in divorce.Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times