Gayle Louis Jennings Jr. was welcomed into the arms of our Heavenly Father on July 19, 2020 after a long struggle with illness related to Agent Orange exposure.
Gayle was born on March 6, 1932 to Gale and Ella (Acton) Jennings in Phoenix, Arizona. Gayle was an only child but one that grew up full of wonder and adventure. As a young man, his early life began as a country boy evolving into a horse trainer and plumber working in the family plumbing business. Gayle attended high school with the late country music singer Marty Robbins and eager to achieve, participated in rodeo and bull riding events to pay his way through college eventually earning a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture from Arizona State University.
Gayle would go on to have a distinguished career in both the military and law enforcement. Gayle achieved many things in his thirty (30) plus year career in the military. Gayle held titles ranging from U.S. Army Major, Cobra Pilot and F86 Pilot. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross (1969 Vietnam), Bronze Star, nineteen (19) Air Medals including one for heroism and countless other outstanding military achievements during his service in the Korean and Vietnam conflicts.
Gayle began his law enforcement career with the Monrovia, California Police Department. As a new officer, he was partnered with John Bianchi who was charged with training Gayle. Not only did he train Gayle to be a police officer, they became lifelong friends. Mr. Bianchi would open a leather business known as “Bianchi” where they started out making leather items in a garage. These items would be sold to law enforcement all over the world. Gayle would often tell stories of the work they would do on and off the job. Gayle would eventually achieve the rank of Sergeant where he was instrumental in the forward progression of patrol work, criminal investigations and firearms instruction.
Gayle later transferred to the Kingman, Arizona Police Department achieving the rank of Lieutenant. Gayle continued the trend of progressing the Kingman Police Department with patrol and investigation functions. During this time, he also attended the 101st session of the FBI National Academy and became a Polygrapher. Gayle was seriously injured on July 5, 1973 in the Doxol Propane Explosion/Incident (BLEVE) which killed ten (10) Kingman, Arizona firefighters and one (1) Arizona State Trooper. It was during this time that Gayle would make yet another lifelong friend in Sid Lathem, a sergeant with the Department.
Though Gayle left law enforcement, it was never really out of his system. As recently as just a couple of years ago, he mentored several young men including his great-nephew Steven King as they attended the local law enforcement academy. The cadets would meet sometimes nightly at the Jennings home since Steven was staying with Gayle and his wife Kathy. They would study and Gayle would join in on the sessions while Kathy would feed the cadets. It was a happy time for Gayle. He loved having a patrol car at the house again.
Gayle achieved so many other things in his life to include having his own businesses where he ran polygraphs, did private detective work, forensic investigations and even was a member of a mountain man group. He often lamented that he wished he had tried his hand as a veterinarian as he never met an animal he didn’t like. He especially had a way with dogs and horses.
Bringing us to the end of Gayle’s story and saving the best for last was Gayle’s love for his family. Gayle was predeceased by his parents and by his son, Larry. Gayle is survived by the absolute love of his life, Kathy. Theirs is a love story for the books with all the up and downs that one can imagine, only to emerge stronger and more in love in the end than in the beginning. They raised a blended family together and Gayle is survived by his sons Danny Jennings and Mike Jennings, daughter Terri Bain (Bob), son Roger Harris (Bella), daughter Elaine Cusulos (Larry), son Jeff Harris (Jennifer), grandsons Justin, Michael, Tyler and Tyler along with granddaughters Tina, Tamara, Jackie and Jackie, Mady, Heather and Lauren. Gayle was further blessed with great-grandsons Ryker, Trevor, Izsik, Jaxsen and Wesley along with great-granddaughters Taelor and Payton. Gayle had great love for the in-laws and nieces and nephews that came with his marriage to Kathy so much so that many of them lived with them at different times during the years. Lastly, the Ed Gutteridge family adopted Gayle and Kathy and brought more love into their lives than one could ever imagine.
Gayle never knew a stranger and would share all he had with anyone. He was both a professional and a family man. He was humble with a great sense of humor. They don’t make em like him anymore and he will be deeply missed.
There will be a visitation at Olinger Hampden Mortuary, 8600 E. Hampden Ave, Denver, CO 80231 on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at 3:00 PM. Burial will follow at Ft. Logan National Cemetery, 4400 W. Kenyon Ave, Denver, CO 80236 on July 30, 2020 at 9:30 AM.
Condolences can be sent to Kathy Jennings C/O Elaine Cusulos, 6890 E. Iliff Ave, Denver, CO 80224. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that any donations be made to the 100 Club of Montezuma County, 35 S. Beech #1101, Cortez, Co 81321 in honor of Gayle Jennings. This is an organization that assists first responders that are injured or killed in the line of duty.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:20